Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M. A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.


 I acknowledge with admiration all of the writers who, in the television
series and in the Pocketbooks series of novels, created stories to which I
have occasionally in this work referred.

 My thanks to AOL member, Bubbleboy1, for the names and registry numbers
of vessels listed in chapter one.

 My special thanks to AOL member, Mararabi, whose detailed edit  helped
"Jigsaw" to greater readability.  

 The lines quoted jointly  by Geordi and Beverly in the final chapter are
from the 17th century British poet, Richard Lovelace, in "To Lucasta,
Going to the Wars."  

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995
Prologue: "Lieutenant Commander Righteous" Part 1
Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M. A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.


 I acknowledge with admiration all of the writers who, in the television
series and in the Pocketbooks series of novels, created stories to which I
have occasionally in this work referred.

 My thanks to AOL member, Bubbleboy1, for the names and registry numbers
of vessels listed in chapter one.

 My special thanks to AOL member, Mararabi, whose detailed edit  helped
"Jigsaw" to greater readability.  

 The lines quoted jointly  by Geordi and Beverly in the final chapter are
from the 17th century British poet, Richard Lovelace, in "To Lucasta,
Going to the Wars."  

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Prologue: "Lieutenant Commander Righteous" Part 1

      Chief Petty Officer Al Martino bounced the racquetball repeatedly on
the floor of the court.  "Come on, Lara, just one more match.  Give me a
chance to get even."
      "Martino," his opponent laughed, "you'd need to win another three
matches to get even.  Why don't you just get mad?"  She draped a towel
over her shoulders and used the corner to brush the perspiration from her
      "Never with you, darlin'," he smiled, passing her the water jug he'd
brought along, since there were no replicator services currently online on
this deck of the Hood.      "Though I confess I feel a mite like a hit 'n'
run, here.  What's your hurry anyways, darlin'?" 
      He was affecting some strange Terran regional accent, a peculiar
male display which Lieutenant Lara Kirov found hilariously obvious and
juvenile.  Kirov tilted her chin toward the ceiling, inhaled deeply, and
swigged the water from the mouth of the jug, completely conscious of the
effect on Martino.  With the back of her palm, she wiped away a drop of
water, smearing it across her parted lips.
       "I have to shower and change and be on the bridge in less than half
an hour.  At 13:30 on the nanosecond, I'm supposed to start installing the
new bridge systems with Righteous."
     "Righteous!" Martino muttered, dropping the drawling accent like
overweight baggage.  "Damn exec's always raining on my parade!"
      It wasn't exactly Lieutenant Commander Riker himself that annoyed
Martino.  True, the new first officer was a little gung-ho about his job,
which was, in a way, everyone else's, but Martino could have tolerated
Riker better if he didn't lose so consistently to him at poker.  Then
again, Martino certainly appreciated how many women he'd been able to meet
at Riker's poker games, and how often he'd gotten the chance to cheer them
up when they discovered that Riker really did mean straight poker.  
Still, Martino's overpumped ego was becoming deflated by always having to
play for the rebound.  And he seemed to be going for the bounce again; 
Kirov was gathering her things, so he resigned himself to the consolation
of walking her back up to her quarters.
      "The Fleet expects you specialists to work all hours, don't they? 
Too bad.  Here we are, parked above beautiful, tropical Betazed,
practically the whole crew on liberty, and you have to reformat the
computer with Righteous."
      "That's the breaks, Martino.  I don't suppose I can expect any slack
being a temp assignment, but if I were DeSoto's second in command, I'd
learn never to expect a vacation.  Doesn't the captain ever let up on that
       "Not till he finds the chink in the armor."  Martino was old enough
not to like being the old hand aboard the ship, but he was pleased to be
regarded as the voice of authority.  "The captain always does this to a
new first officer.  He heaps it on, turns the whole ship's business over
to them.  Meanwhile, he's watching 'em like a hawk, checking up on
everything, till he finds the 'threshold of competence.'   The old man may
look like he's got it in for Righteous,  but actually he's impressed. 
He's been working on him for a couple months now, and the kid hasn't
fallen down on the job yet."
      "Well, this is the first time I've ever had an exec to assist me.  I
hope I don't find out that what Righteous can't stand up to is systems
installations, or else I'll really have to work tonight.  That would be
too bad. I was hoping to get the job  done fast and then play hooky."
      "Hooky?  Is that what you want to play with Will?"  Martino smirked,
dropping unconsciously back into the phony accent.  "Let me tell you,
darlin', that's the most irksome thing about the man.  He's got all you
little sweethearts chasing around after him, and he's letting it all go to
     "So uneconomical!" Kirov shook her blonde head sadly.  "And I can see
that you're a man who hates waste of any kind, Chief."
      "Well, darlin', you can laugh, but I think you're going to come back
looking for yours truly.  I keep on tellin' y'all --Righteous just ain't
      They had reached her quarters, and Martino realized with chagrin
that she was about to disappear and that he hadn't been able to press his
own agenda at all.
     "You know, Lara, if you feel that bad for poor ole Will, I'd be happy
to stay aboard and give you a hand so he can get out a little."
      "Gee, that's soooo nice of you, Al," Kirov smiled, "but the First
Officer has to stay aboard.  Somebody's got to stand in for the Captain
      "What?  The Captain is going planetside?  That's news!"
      "It's a diplomatic soiree. There's a ceremony of some kind at one of
the noble houses of Betazed."
     "Not a wedding is it?" Martino's eyes lit up.  "Do you know how they
get married on Betazed?"
     "No, not a wedding." Kirov was aware of the Betazoid custom of nude
matrimonials, and the thought of Captain Robert DeSoto unclothed was
something that she was sure he'd want no one on the crew to entertain. 
"Some big to-do about a sacred chalice at the Fourth or Fifth or, for all
I know, the Forty-fifth House.  He was in dress uniform, and he looked the
dead opposite of happy." 
     "I wonder why he didn't send Riker then.  DeSoto hates that stuff, 
but, Righteous, geez!  He can really lay on the charm when, uhx." Martino
once again found himself in the maladroit position of building up his
      "I heard that DeSoto had this duty scheduled for the First Officer,
but there was a sudden change of plan.  Maybe their Betazoid Majesties'
noses were put out of joint by the idea that they'd be getting a
subordinate officer instead of a captain.  Or maybe," her eyes crinkled
with mischief, "they thought it was safer to let Righteous work on the
computer rather than the sacred chalices of Betazed."
      "I wouldn't exactly call them sacred, darlin'.  Betazed has nothing
but mind-readers, so nothing is sacred."
     "Al," she laughed, "they wouldn't have to be mind-readers to know
what's on your mind."  She patted his arm with affectionate condescension 
as she disappeared through her door.  "Have a good time on the ground."

      Lieutenant Kirov looked around at her spare quarters and thanked the
stars that she was here only temporarily.   Badly damaged in a sneak
attack by Sindareen raiders more than a year ago, the Hood had been put in
dry dock.   The ship had come back to active duty only eight weeks ago,
just ahead of the latest computer upgrade, which Kirov had come on to
     As she showered and dressed in the brief time she'd allotted herself,
Lara set her mind to the task ahead.  Hardware upgrades were grinding,
meticulous work, not the sort of job she relished, but one that she was
well schooled to do.  After all she'd been through, she could suck it in
with the best of them.  DeSoto, rigid as he was, was nothing compared to
the commanding officer she'd had for the first seventeen years of her
      Commander Ivan Kirov, her father, had earned the inevitable
sobriquet "The Terrible" even before the years when he bullied staff and
family alike in his little realm, Starbase 63 on Secas IV.  Ivan thought
that he had been meant for a much grander canvas.  He had enjoyed the
brief glory of a field captaincy during one of the periodic clashes
between the Federation and the Klingon Empire, but afterward, destiny had
led him to the command of a space station in one of the calmer sectors.
 His story,  at least for public consumption, was that he had requested
the posting so as to be with his wife to raise his young family, a son who
was his pride and joy and a daughter who would cause him to go gray before
his time.  Secas IV was a small pond that had made the big frog all the
more zealous for his son and heir.  According to Ivan's plan, the Kirov
scion would be the one to scale the towers of command.  As to the
daughter, well, she would be married off satisfactorily to a Starfleet
son-in-law and raise Ivan's grandsons to ever more brilliant careers.  
 Kirov's expectations were not based in any realistic view of his progeny;
he had extremely reactionary notions of what a  boy or girl ought to be. 
His definitions worked to some extent for Nicholas, who was assertive and
sly, but demure femininity was not Lara at all.  Yet it had been Nicky who
started the rebellion against their father's tyranny:  his overreaching
expectations of his son and his underestimation of his daughter.  
      One day, she had tagged along after Nicky on one of his jaunts.  She
was about nine then; he'd been around thirteen.  She adored him, even
though usually he ignored her.  But that day, instead of shooing her back
to the compound, he had looked at her thoughtfully and beckoned her to
catch up.  The whole morning he showed her the things he knew about the
desert, even the secret place where he went when he needed to get away.
       They sat in the cool of a little cave in barren rocks before the
purple defoliated hills.
      "Why do you let him push you around like that?" he asked her.
      She didn't know what to say.
      His pale blue eyes mirrored her own.  "Are you always gonna let
people push you around, or are you willing to do something about it?"
      She didn't understand what he meant.
      "He thinks you're stupid," he told her. "He thinks all you are is a
pretty face."
      She smiled.  She knew she wasn't stupid, but it was news that Nicky
thought she was pretty.  
      "You can use it, Lara --what you know about them and what they think
they know about you.  You can make it so you're the one in charge.  You
can be the commander, if you want to."  
      (She felt the shiver again in her daydream as she picked up her
uniform and put it on.)
      "Look, Lara," (she could almost hear his voice.) "You want to get
him?  I know how.  I can help youx."

      xLater that night at the state dinner for a visiting admiral and a
Rigelian diplomatic delegation, Ivan Kirov, Station Commandant, was
holding court.
 "Of course, after the hostilities were over," he proclaimed, "I saw my
duty to my family and resigned my field captaincy."
      "An admirable decision," the admiral commented as his aides
suppressed yawns.  "Family values are extremely important to the
Rigelians.  Their childrenx "  
 Across the room, the children's hour was in progress.
       "They spelled it wrong," the little blonde head piped up as the
Rigelian ambassador accepted a glass of punch for his wife, who had
managed to avoid Ivan Kirov's autobiography by retreating to the buffet
     "What was that, dear?"  The wife smiled at the little girl.  She was
under the mistaken impression that the Kirov children were cute.
      "The writing on Daddy's orders.  When he left the starship.   They
spelled it wrong:  R-E-A-S-S-I-G-N-E-D,  not  R-E-S-I-G-N-E-D."
      The flustered Rigelians looked at one another.
      "Captain Parnell got to be captain of Daddy's ship.  He was the
First Officer,"  the little one prattled on.
     "I suppose that occasionally First Officers take over from their
Captains?"  the ambassador's wife asked him.
       The admiral, who had now managed to free himself from the Kirov
saga, caught her question in passing and answered without knowing the
pretext, "That's true, madam, but generally only when the Captain is
incapacitated or incompetent."
      "Oh dear!" said the wife looking down at the little girl in concern
for what impression might be left on the child.
       Lara was very reassuring. "Not my daddy," she said confidently. 
"His record said he was super, the most super.  It said he was the
       Kirov, still holding court a few yards away,  had noticed the
attention being given to his daughter.
      "Lara," the Commander addressed her, "young ladies should speak when
they're spoken to and not chatter like little birds."
      "Yes, Daddy."  She turned back to the Rigelians.  "Anyway,  we don't
work for the Federation anymore."
      The admiral's wife was a woman who perpetually corrected everyone. 
"Of course you do, my dear.  We all work for the Federation."
      "Not my daddy.  He works for the Hypocrites and Bureaucrats."
 Mrs. Commandant Kirov could tell that something was wrong by the stricken
looks on the faces that surrounded her angelic little girl.  And her son
was standing off to the side behind the Rigelians' backs barely
suppressing a fit of sniggering.
      "Children only repeat what they have heard at home," the
ambassador's wife confided to the admiral loudly enough for most of the 
group to overhear.
        With some presentment of the situation, the children's mother
sprang to the rescue.  "Lara, I think it's time for you and Nicky to be
excused.  You have entertained the company enough this evening, I'm sure."
      "I'm sure!" muttered the admiral's wife out of the side of her
 The Rigelian smiled tolerantly.  "It's quite all right, Madam.  We of
Rigelius find the highest expression of our culture in our children." 
      Over the polite murmur that followed the diplomat's grand statement,
Lara's sweet high voice rang out clearly:  "Daddy always says life has its
highest expression in the Terran male." 
     She pronounced it as though it were a famous epigram.
     "Fascinating," the diplomat said dryly.
      Abruptly the charming, wide-eyed expression broadened as though some
unexpected and disgusting thought had dawned on her.
      "You're not one of those pointy-eared Vulcans, are you?"            
      It hadn't mattered that her father was toweringly angry and had
punished her by confining her to the family compound for a month.  Her
mother canceled the karate lessons that she loved and substituted
etiquette.  New chores involving cooking and cleaning were added to her
daily schedule. But she didn't mind.  She had made Nicky laugh.  
      He loved her. She was sure of that now.  She had a big brother, a
champion.  He had a protege.
       Putting on a fresh uniform, Lara had just a few minutes to pick up
her quarters.  She might need to have the place look neat, depending on
how she played it.  She stowed the sweaty racquetball togs and gear, some
optical chips containing a manual she was reading, and the one that held
Nicky's latest letter.  She smiled as she remembered his congratulations. 
He said it was a good sign to be posted to the Hood even temporarily, and
she should try to bear up and get on the right side of "No-No" DeSoto.  If
they were grooming you for the really big places, Nicky confided, they
gave you to DeSoto.  He said before too long now, he'd be able to pull
some strings for her at Command Intelligence Division.  He told her to
keep her teeth sharp.   He always closed his letters that way.   Now, she
thought, she had a little something to whet her teeth on--Lt. Commander
Righteous.  Just to keep in practice, she'd written back to Nicky.   She
could see Nicky now, reading that line at the end and smiling in that
wicked, knowing way of his.  He could always see right through her.


or-mail Fri Mar 29 12:39:14 1996
Xref: alt.startrek.creative:35608
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW prologue 2
Date: 26 Mar 1996 22:25:45 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 314
Message-ID: <4jacfp$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Prologue "Lt. Commander Righteous"  Part II

    It was 20:30, and they'd worked straight through, pausing only to pick
up coffee, but the installation was basically done--two hundred odd
optical chips connected into the central matrix, a huge jigsaw puzzle,  as
she'd described it at the Hood's senior staff briefing.  
     Lieutenant Commander Riker had asked about an hour and a half back if
she wanted to stop and take a break for dinner, but she said, no, they
were so close to done they might as well finish.  She could see he was
anxious to get it completed.  Unfortunately, the last part had taken
somewhat longer than they had anticipated.
    "Damn," he said, "this is the third time this test sequence has
aborted.  It's beginning to drive me crazy."
    She ducked under his arm at the console.  "Here," she said, "let me." 
Her fingers passed confidently over the touch pads.
   "What?"  He looked at the screen which now showed the correct display. 
 "How did you get there so fast?"
    "Back door," she smiled at him.  "Look. " She punched in a brief code.
 "Most specs allow themselves a little shortcut for quick access. Saves a
lot time, particularly with the routines and protocols built into a system
like this."
   "And blows holes in the security for those systems," he said.
    "I'll wipe it out when we're done." 
    He looked hard at her.
   "Oh, all right!" she said. "I'll do it.  Really!  But always remember,
Lieutenant Commander Riker, the system is only as secure as you are. 
Never let anyone on your padd."  She stretched tiredly. "God, this day has
been forever!  How much more is there?"
    He leaned over to check a different screen.  "A little more.  The
simulations."  He frowned at her, sitting there, looking weary and
overheated, and it made him feel a little guilty.  "All right," he
decided, "we're both tired, and as much as I'd like to wrap it and knock
off, we're starting to hit the law of diminishing returns.  Let's just
take a break, grab something to eat, and maybe the rest will take only
half an hour instead of another seven."
   She brushed the hair back from her face with a sigh of frustration. 
"All right, sounds plausible."
   "Resume in about forty minutes then?"
   "Done," she nodded.
 He walked off to the turbolift, and she fell in right behind him.  The
lift door hissed shut.
    "Deck four," he ordered, but she didn't give her deck designation.  
 He exited the lift and turned left to his quarters and was surprised to
find that she was still following him.  Then he realized:  she had
mistaken his suggestion for an invitation.  He paused before his door. 
How was he supposed to shake her off gracefully?
    "Uh-- okay.  Here we are."  All right, he was too brain-dead to
explain it in a way that wouldn't insult her and too tired to deal with
hurt feelings.  He stood back to let her pass through first.
     Too polite to embarrass either of us, she thought.  Just what she'd
counted on.
     "Sandwiches and coffee okay?" he asked from the replicator panel as
she threw herself onto the plush sofa in the small living area.
    "Whatever.  Make mine black," she called, stretching out luxuriously
like a cat.  
     Riker brought a tray over to the low table that fronted the sofa and
looked at the lieutenant as if for the first time.  He hadn't invited her,
hadn't in any way looked for this encounter, and here he was serving her
supper in his quarters.  (There was a time not so long ago that he'd have
been the one trying to pull this off.)  
      She was slim and leggy, maybe a little more athletic than his ideal
type; she had a lovely face framed with shoulder-length blonde hair.  He'd
reviewed her record when she'd come aboard, grimaced when he noted she was
related to Nicky Kirov, and resolved not to prejudge her.  In short time,
he had found her a very competent officer, and at the computer this
evening she'd been way better at it than he was.  Affable, a good sense of
humor. They had gotten on well working together for seven hours, so why
should he feel  -- strange?   She probably just didn't want to eat alone. 
Practically everyone else had liberty.  
     Maybe he was just irritable, particularly thinking about where he
would have been this very moment if DeSoto had not suddenly changed
assignments, taking on the Betazed diplomatic liaison himself.  It was a
rotten piece of luck--and incomprehensible, given DeSoto's abhorrence of
these functions.  
      But his luck was due to turn.  With Kirov to work alongside him,
he'd be done with this job in another hour at most.  When DeSoto got back,
surely there'd be no reason to keep the first officer on duty.  Surely
     "Well, Commander, we must be the last two people aboard tonight,"
Lieutenant Kirov remarked.  "I'm frankly amazed that we can leave the ship
in orbit nearly deserted so soon after the Sindareen trouble.  It's a
testament to how firmly you guys put those rogues in their place.  I wish
I'd been with you then."  
     "Taking out the raiders' base at Belstellar was the first mission I
had as tactical officer on the Potemkin."  
     She smiled up at him, inviting the story, but he declined the
opportunity to impress her, merely adding,  "Anyway, the Sindareen are no
great threat, not any more."
     She reached for a sandwich.  "The ones we're really going to have to
watch out for are the Romulans."
    "Have you encountered any?" he asked, somewhat amused by the overreach
of her opinion.  She was a couple of years his junior, and he had yet to
meet his first Romulan.  
      "No," she admitted, "but I've been studying them.  Everything that's
been collected so far, not that it's much.  With the Klingon alliance
growing stronger all the time, the Romulans look to me like the chief bad
    "What makes you so interested in Romulans, Lieutenant?"
    " 'Lara' is okay, while we're off the bridge."  She waited a second,
but he didn't invite her to use his first name.  "Tech work is fine, but
what I really want to get into is Intelligence."
     "Ambitious."  It was a compliment.
    "You should talk," she chided.  "I'm told that your progress through
the ranks could generate a warp field.  Bet you make full Commander by
next year."
    His smile was wry, but without a trace of the false modesty she might
have expected.  He said simply, "Well, I'm working on it . . ."  He'd been
on the verge of saying something more.  Instead,  "So, you want a chance
to tackle the Romulans, huh?" 
     "With the Romulans, it's a real chess game, move and countermove-- 
Are you're laughing at me?" she accused him coyly.
     "Not at all," he protested, but the smile had grown to amusement. 
"It's just that I've heard that line before."
     Her face flushed a little.  She looked charmingly flustered at being
caught.  "It's not stealing to quote somebody.  I heard it at the Academy.
 A captain on one of the exploration vessels had come back briefly--"
    "Jean-Luc Picard," he informed her.
    "My gosh!  You were at that lecture, too?"
     He nodded.  "Everybody who was still around attended.  Exploration
crews don't get home too often.  Picard came in only to accompany the
remains of one of his crew members.  After the funeral, they pressed him
into doing a lecture or two at the Academy.  Picard was impressive--had to
be for me to remember the speech.  They ought to have had someone like him
to teach the alien cultures course, though I admit the guy's historical
references kind of escaped me."
     "Are you kidding?  His comparison to sixteenth century Italian
intrigues--"  she caught his look and laughed self-consciously.  "All
right, so you're not into Machiavelli.  Anyway, Picard was good.  And you
didn't have to know ancient Italy to understand what he was saying about
the Romulans.  He had authority;  he'd been out there."
    "Yep.  That's the assignment I want."
    "A deep space vessel.  You know, one of the explorers. Long mission,
small crew, people who are dedicated to one another.  That's the kind of
command I want."
    "You really think you'd like that?"  If the question was unexpected,
her tone, bordering incredulous, was even more so.  
    "Sure, I do. Why not?"
    She shrugged."You just don't seem the type ."
    "Thanks for the instant personality analysis.  Have you got the
Romulans psyched, too?"
    "There are some things I've found intriguing."
    "By all means, enlighten me." He'd managed to turn the subject
adroitly, he thought.
    "Well, for instance, they have a really interesting view of their
women, societally.  Within the larger society; economics, politics, and so
on; women are treated with perfect equality, but in personal
relationships, it's extremely male dominant, not unlike some stages of
human societal development.  Culturally speaking, they may be moving
toward a separation of their pathos and their rationality."
     "That's not so odd.  You should remember that they're an off-shoot of
the Vulcan race.  Vulcans struggled for centuries to subdue the emotional
side of their natures with logic."
    "I doubt that the Vulcans want to claim the relationship."
    "Probably not, but they might have something to learn from each
    "Romulans are emotionally unstable.  Vulcan society is one of the most
ethically, technologically and philosophically structured groups in the
    "Yes, but is it reasonable for beings with emotional capacity to
divorce themselves from their feelings?"
    " 'Reasonable' is exactly what it is," she declared.  "Wouldn't you
say that it's a good idea to keep your feelings out of the way of your
    "No, I wouldn't.  My feelings belong in my decisions."
   "Commander, with respect, you must have slept through the first month
of Command Psych at the Academy."  
    "Look," he told her, "I'm not saying you should let your feelings
dictate command decision.  But I do think your feelings ought to be
considered like any other factor.  We humans are blessed with intuition
and empathy and passion.  Why should we pretend to ourselves that we're
less complicated than we are?  Why shouldn't we use our whole experience
just because some pieces inform us differently from facts? Don't you think
that's why the best captains aren't afraid to follow their hunches?"
    "Okay," she conceded.  "I agree:  what you feel should help what you
know.  But it doesn't work very well in the other direction."
    "What's that mean?"
   "Well,  sometimes even though you know something is the way it is,
knowing doesn't change the way you feel about it.  For example, I can tell
myself rationally that Ferengi are aliens whose culture I must tolerate,
but it doesn't keep me from feeling that they're despicable little runts."
     He laughed despite himself. "Well, maybe we can never really separate
what we feel from what we think."  
     "Maybe we should try harder.  Look how far the Vulcans have gotten
because they didn't have emotional considerations to hold them back."
      Quiet descended on them.  He ate studiously as though he were
thinking it all over.  Or maybe he was thinking about something else
entirely.  When he finally glanced back at her, he seemed startled to find
that she was studying him.
     "Is it such an ugly thought, Commander?  Humans bested by some other
     "The Vulcans are our friends.  I didn't think there was a
competition.  We're different peoples.  And anyway, even if we could
emulate what they've done in their culture, I'm not sure I'd want to."
     "There's a lot to be said for a culture that's extinguished the last
vestiges of hate, avarice, jealousy. "
     "Maybe what bothers me is everything else you'd have to extinguish
with it."
    "Oh," she smiled, "I don't think that the Vulcans have worked it out
that badly.  They have their great moment of passion and then they get on
with their lives.  They have no emotions about it to tangle them up.
Frankly, I've known Terrans --males, especially --who live exactly the
same way.  I think all Terrans could stand to separate their sexual
desires from their emotions."
     "Frankly," he replied, "I've known Terrans --females, especially
--who'd use me for phaser practice if I'd said that."
      She was nonplused. "There are lots of cultures for whom procreation
is just a physical act, the satisfaction of a biological drive--like
eating when you're hungry."  She picked up the other half of her sandwich;
then with a  glimmer of mischief, she offered it to him. "Here you go,
Commander.  Try not to complicate it with a lot of a spurious
     "Thanks, I'll pass," he grinned.
     "Very Vulcan of you, Commander,"  she smiled back.  "Don't get me
wrong, now; I don't mean to disparage love.  I just think it's a lot more
complicated in our day and age.  I think love goes beyond any physical
considerations and perhaps it doesn't even have to include them--though
the physical and the emotional together would be wonderful."   
    "Very human of you, Lieutenant."
     She turned away as though she were blushing, but there was no new
color in her face. "Well, I guess I have personal ambitions, too.  I think
it is the ambition of every human to fall in love.  I want to fall in
love--someday.  Yes, someday, I'll  find the  man I'd kill for him."
     "I thought the cliche was, 'die for'," he quipped in mock suspicion.
    "Maybe that, too," she laughed.
    "Sounds like a very dangerous romance, Ms. Kirov."  
    "I'll take the risk," she said, enjoying the glow that humor brought
to his eyes.  "Let the chips fall where they may.  It's a better ambition
than deep space --William."
    "Will," he corrected her.
    "I mean, the people who captain these exploratory vessels, Will, love
the isolation, but would you?  I know I wouldn't.   I want to explore the
people, not the space.  I'll pass on the honor of naming the first
discovered planet in the Gamma Quadrant,  if I can understand a race like
the Romulans, or even, say  --Starfleet officers?"   
    "Yeah," he said slyly.  "It's much more fun thinking up appropriate
names for them, like say, Lieutenant Commander Righteous?" he suggested.
     "Where did you hear that?" she asked with chagrin.
 He leaned over across the table toward her.  His eyes had a devilish
glint.  "All officers are aware of the nicknames they get among the crew. 
Don't tell me you don't know what they've christened you?"
     She looked up expectantly and waited while his smile got broader and
more provocative.  
    "You know, I don't think I care," she finally announced.  She got up
from the sofa and placed the empty coffee cup back in the replicator. 
"The conventional wisdom  about me is just that: conventional.  Not
original, not independent, not anything I aspire to."
       All of a sudden she was so serious.  He'd touched a nerve.  Well,
maybe it was for the best.  He stood up and began to clear the rest of the
dishes to the replicator.  "Okay, so what do you aspire to, Hoover?"
     "Hoover?  Is that what they named me?  Hoover?"
     "Don't ask me.  The references went from a US President to a vacuum
cleaning device.   But, tell me, what is it that you aspire to, Lara?"  
     As he reached around her to set down the dishes, she turned, bumping
into him.  But she didn't move away. She reached up and ran her hand down
the front of his uniform, brushing away crumbs that weren't there.  Her
hands lingered.
     "Command," she said tossing her head back, letting her hands drop so
that her arms encircled him.  "Just like you, Will, I want to command."   
     He took her gently by the shoulders.   She felt tense and poised,
willing him to respond, ready to acquiesce. His pulse jumped.  He drew
back, sure of her intentions.   
     "I'm sorry, Lara," he said smoothly.  "As much fun as it would be to
take turns obeying, it's asking for trouble when you're working on the
same ship.  And anyway, there's somebody that I--I'm involved with."
      She was prepared for that one. Her hands slid around the back of his
neck. "Truth to tell," she lied, "I'm involved with someone too.  But he's
far away, now.  I promise I won't tell yours, if you don't tell--"
     It was utterly the wrong move. She felt him straighten. The game was
     And then the com system toned.
    "Sorry to disturb you, sir." It was Markham, the communications
officer. "I'm commencing my shore leave now."
    Riker detached himself to listen to the air above them.  
    "Is there anything else you need before I go?"
    Will glanced hard at Lara.  "I don't think so--Mr. Markham."
     He was all business now.  He turned away and took his empty coffee
cup from the table.  She stepped aside, and then she shrugged carelessly. 

    "Fine.  OK.  No hard feelings," she said softly enough to be unheard
on the com channel.
     Markham was still going  on. "I just wanted to let you know, sir,
there's a mail transmission in-comingx."
     Kirov didn't seem upset or embarrassed.  She looked as if she meant
    "Really, Will," she said in the same even undertone.
     "...the new system isn't on line, but I've managed to set something
up to route the messages directly to each addressee's quartersx"  
    "Good," Riker responded.
      Kirov turned and sauntered toward the door. "I'll go up and get us
started again," she said, very casual, friendly, as if nothing at all had
     "xbut just in case it doesn't work, Commander, I'll leave a back-up
of the whole batch in the main bank," Markham's voice trailed off as if he
were already on his way out. 
    "Very good, Lieutenant Markham. Thank you."  
     Thank you, Markham, thank you, thank you, thank you.   
    "Oh, and sir--?  There are a couple messages for you.  Shall I send
them down now?"
     "See you on the bridge," Lara said over her shoulder as the door
closed behind her. 


From!!!!!!!not-for-mail Fri
Mar 29 12:39:24 1996
Xref: alt.startrek.creative:35585
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW prologue 3
Date: 27 Mar 1996 01:25:14 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 164
Message-ID: <4jan0a$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M. A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Prologue "Lt. Commander Righteous"  Part III

      In the turbolift, she began to analyze it.  Disappointing, but not a
total loss.  Gratifying as it might have been, sex was not the objective. 
Knowledge, command, power--those were always the objective.  DeSoto was
out of reach, and anyway, Riker was the one running the ship.  She wanted
influence over him, and just as Nicky had taught her, she looked for a
weakness to exploit.  She picked what she thought was his vulnerability,
but he'd surprised her--and yeah, the rejection smarted a little.  But
who'd have thought he was committed to a lover?  She already had a good
understanding of young, ambitious Starfleet officers: the life made them
solitary, aggressive, arrogant and unattached.  Riker had all the
markings, and he hadn't mentioned a girlfriend to anyone --
      Wait a minute; there was a thought!  What if his tastes were exotic
x so exotic he wouldn't want them known ?
      Riker set his already packed bag by the door so he could be gone as
soon as DeSoto reappeared. What an evening!  He didn't need this business
with Kirov on top of everything else.  He'd already been feeling a little
anxious--all right, maybe a little desperate.  
      How long since he'd left her on Betazed?  Not long, though it felt
like forever.  But the Hood's unexpected detour had given him just the
chance he needed--a chance to surprise her, romance her, spend the night
together if they could slip away.  Even now, if he caught a break and
DeSoto cashed in early, he might be in time to pick her up as the
diplomatic dinner ended.   
      He thought about seeing Deanna Troi again.   He'd had to cancel
their planned reunion on Rysa when he'd been promoted to First Officer of
the Hood.  He'd felt the momentum in his career, and he'd sacrificed their
plans to it, sure that she would understand that even though he'd been so
busy, so absorbed in his work, she was a key piece of his life.  Trouble
was, since becoming the Hood's first officer, he'd felt like his life was
in a million scattered pieces.  With so much to attend to, so many demands
on him, it was easy to lose sight of the big picture.  He'd always been
ambitious, striving, but that had been for his own fulfillment.  Now he
had  another goal to push for.  One more rung up the ladder and all the
pieces would fall into place:  a position that would allow him to offer
her something more than cramped ship's quarters, frequent transfers, and
no opportunity for a career of her own.  He'd be able to give her things,
treasure her, marry her.
      His mail came up on the screen.

      Kirov was still considering Riker's tastes when her lift car opened
onto the bridge.  Markham stepped in,  babbling to her about the mail and
whether it would interfere with the installation.  Lara told him she'd
take care of it. 
 She sat down at the monitor, frowning as she watched the mail scroll by. 
Markham had set it up fine.  There was no need to hold a back-up in the
main bank.  She was about to delete the batch when one of the messages
caught her eye, a voice/image letter with an incredibly long routing
signature.  Delivery had been delayed because it had been sent to the
Hood's last port of call and transferred to their next scheduled stop
before it had finally been detoured, as they had, to Betazed.  Ironically,
the letter had originated on Betazed...  
 In the dim light, in the hasty neatness of his quarters with the bag
beside the door, he stared as if phaser-stunned and listened to the
voice/image letter with the incredibly long routing signature and watched
the exotic, dark, soulful eyes that would not look at him even through the
viewscreen, even in a prerecorded message . . . 

 "Perhaps you don't think it, Imzadi, but your heart has made your choice.
 I understand your decision.  How could I quarrel with it?  You yourself
have convinced me that love itself is not enough and first   does not mean
forever x"
       Lieutenant Kirov must have gotten the jitters that working alone on
a nearly deserted ship can give a person. When Lt. Commander Riker stepped
off the lift onto the bridge, she was startled.
     "I'm getting the simulations up now," she called.
     He didn't answer, but began the computer sequence immediately at the
other monitor.  His face seemed like granite, grey and stony, and there
was a constrained energy about his movements, a deliberate concentration
in his eyes, that told how mightily he was struggling to make the work
absorb him.
      "So," she said offhandedly in Riker's direction, "What did you do to
screw things up?"
     It took a second to register. He turned toward her.  "What?" he
      "You know," she replied.  "Betazed."
      His heart stopped for a moment, and he just stared at her.
     "Starch the Captain's shorts?  Beat him at poker?  Play your trombone
while he's trying to sleep?"
     He sat there, paralyzed, while she, feigning innocence, input another
     "I mean, I should be here on board tonight.  I'm just filling a
temporary post.  But you?  You must have done something terrible not to
get liberty for the nicest stop this ship is going to get before the long
haul coming up."
      He breathed again.  "No, it's--well, I've seen the place already." 
He swallowed.  "Nice enough planet.  Nothing special."
     "That's right.  Somebody told me you were stationed here while they
did the repairs."
      "Yeah, I had a few weeks on planet--" he frowned, realizing suddenly
how long  "-- a year ago."
      Captain Robert DeSoto was a thorough man, meticulous in his own
affairs and particular about all who served under him.  It was a little
after 24:00 hours when he stepped from his shuttle back onto the Hood,
having had a rather strange evening, all told, at the mansion of the
doyenne of the Fifth House of Betazed, Mrs. Lwaxana Troi.  
 DeSoto was a man so well grounded in the practical that he didn't
consider himself very sensitive to the subtle emotional currents that ran
through Betazoid gatherings, but one had to be on the edge of oblivion to
miss the powerful undertow at the diplomatic dinner this evening.  He had
been a guest at the Troi mansion before, but on those other occasions, the
unpredictability of the atmosphere had been tempered by the presence of
Mrs. Troi's gracious and beautiful daughter, Deanna.  Alas, having
graduated the university on Betazed, she'd just left for advanced studies
with one of the Starfleet psychological institutes and was not in
attendance this evening to pour oil on the waters.  He supposed that was
part of the general unease in the household.   
 And then, the senior Federation liaison officer had asked him to convey
warmest greetings to his First Officer.  DeSoto knew, of course, that
Riker had served with some distinction in the diplomatic office on
Betazed, so while the request was perfectly understandable, it was rather
odd that it had been made so surreptitiously, the diplomat glancing around
to make sure that Lwaxana was otherwise occupied.  The liaison went on to
tell DeSoto what a fine young man he had there!  And this after the man
had insisted that Riker specifically not be sent to represent Starfleet
here this evening!   DeSoto was ready to throw up his hands.  As if these
damned diplomatic chores didn't make him feel awkward enough!  He was glad
to be back on his own ship where there were no mysteries greater than a
warp equation or the location of the noncoms' weekly floating craps game.
       Despite the late hour, he headed for the bridge to check on the
night watch.  The duty officer was Lieutenant LcXan who had come on at
21:30 hours, DeSoto learned, shortly before Lieutenant Commander Riker had
suspended work on the systems installation with Lieutenant Kirov.  
      "You mean that Mr. Riker didn't finish the job?"  DeSoto asked.
      "Well, no sir.  Actually yes, but--I mean, well, not exactly," LcXan
squirmed. "They were having trouble running the simulations so they
started checking the matrix and found out that they'd fit some of the
pieces in the wrong places.  Mr. Riker was pretty frustrated.  He said he
couldn't see them putting it all straight now, and that they should quit
for tonight.  He said, wipe it and start from scratch tomorrow.  They both
looked pretty burned out; they were at it for seven hours. But once he
went down to his quarters for the night, Lieutenant Kirov pulled the chips
and put it all back together in about fifty minutes. Like it was a puzzle,
just the way she said."
        DeSoto grunted with odd satisfaction and turned away.   Gotcha,
William T. Riker!  He'd found the threshold of competence.   Robert DeSoto
might not be the Federation's most graceful diplomat, but Fleet Command
knew as well as DeSoto himself what the Hood's Captain did best:  he
raised young officers.  It wasn't for spite, but for pride and
accomplishment, his own and theirs, that he pushed them so hard.  And
aside from the maturity, the "seasoning", that would come only with time
and experience, Riker had shown himself to be top drawer material.  He'd
make sure that Riker knew the bridge systems hardware inside out before he
got posted off the Hood.  That tech specialist, Kirov, was attached to his
command for the next month while they did the field trials.  He'd have her
put Riker through his paces.  
      DeSoto headed for his cabin, the exasperations of diplomacy replaced
by a renewed sense of purpose. His proteges had to be good at everything,
DeSoto insisted, even jigsaw puzzles.  After all, you never knew when your
life would depend on some little competence.

From!!!!!chi-news.c!!gatech!swrinde!!news-e!!!not-for-mail Fri
Mar 29 12:43:09 1996
Xref: alt.startrek.creative:35693
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel Jigsaw Ch 1 Part1
Date: 27 Mar 1996 23:34:18 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 284

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 1 "Something Else" Part I

      Captain Jean-Luc Picard looked out the bank of windows in the office
of the Station Commandant-Starbase 191 and watched the shuttlecraft
depart.   The silver hull of the vessel glided into the star-speckled
black, the blue glow of its engines propelling it away from the station. 
He glanced down at the polished desktop scattered with its own
constellation of data padds.
      Captain's Log -- Stardate 48668.2:
 This entry, made by Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commanding officer of the
UFP Enterprise (late), is recorded on the tenth day of assignment to
Starbase 191 at the outermost boundary of sector Epsilon-Psi near the
Veridian system, where the Enterprise crew awaits the decommissioning of
our ship and our reassignment...
      It was quite late in the day, so late it was actually the next day,
but then, Picard reflected, time was relative in many ways.  Watching the
slow trajectory of the shuttlecraft through the starfield, he considered
the first principal of warp mechanics: space and time are one.  Space had
taken up his whole adult life.  Life was made of time.  But now his time
was taken up by the lifeless articles that inhabited the small space on
the black marble surface of the desk where the stars were only

     Memorandum --By order of Rear Admiral Jeremy Christopher, commanding
Sector Epsilon Psi, the following matters shall be referred to:
      Captain J. L. Picard of the UFP Enterprise (late),  temporarily at
           construction delays: shuttle bays
           holographic environmental simulators:   software installation
           emergency reactor shut down:   protocols

      Picard stacked the padds and pushed them off to one side wondering
if the designers of this magnificent space station had ever imagined that
the desk would forever compete with the windows.  They were panoramic
windows from which the Station Commandant, whenever he or she might be
appointed, could gaze into the endless depths of space all the way back
through the Alpha Quadrant to Coordinates OO1 -- Earth.  Of course, if
Picard had been the architect, he would have faced the windows the other
way; for all that he was an amateur archeologist, he had never considered
himself a man who looked backward.
     Personnel File: Riker,  William T. , Commander:
            First Officer:           UFP Enterprise NCC 1701-D
            Executive Officer:       UFP Hood  NCC-42296
            Tactical Officer:          UFP Potemkin  NCC-8243
            Liaison Officer:           Diplomatic Corps, Betazed
            Second Officer:           UFP Yorktown NCC 1717-B
            Mission Operations:  UFP Fortuna NCC 44379
            Navigation:           UFP Pegasus  NCC-53847

      Picard cleared the personnel file from the screen of the main
terminal, and by the time he looked up again, the shuttlecraft had become
no more than a tiny speck in the windows.   Yes, this was one he had
expected to lose, truth to tell, long before this.  This was a happy loss,
he reminded himself; his other losses, the tragic ones--his family, his
ship--well, he had come to terms with those.   He reminded himself of
that, too.
      It had been a little more than a week since the wreck of NCC 1701-D,
the Starship Enterprise; flagship of the United Federation of Planets; the
graceful, galaxy-class veteran of a seven-year mission; home to a crew of
1,014 officers, scientists and civilians;  a ship of exploration and
inspiration. His ship.  That she had died honorably, heroically, in the
performance of her duty, did little to soften the blow. 
       The survivors had been evacuated to Starbase 191, where the
battered and orphaned crew had been placed on leave while the salvage and
recycle teams made their evaluations of the wreck.  Preliminary inspection
had deemed it a near total loss. She would not be raised from the ground
again.  Dismantled pieces might be saved, but the overall plan was to
restore the environment of Veridian III by destroying the Enterprise.  
The hull and infrastructures would be dematerialized, blotted from
existence.  A Zakdorn salvage team was already on the scene.
      The Enterprise's senior staff went to work on the salvage of the
human ruins.  The physical casualties had been remarkably few due to the
efforts of the team who'd been on the bridge when the Enterprise went down
and seeing to the injured had been easy.  Wounds to the body were obvious;
appropriate and effective treatment had already begun.  But what about the
emotional scars that inevitably attended the loss of their ship, their
home, their accustomed lives?  The psychological wounding of the crew
concerned the Enterprise's senior officers, and they were beset by those
hurts themselves.
      Rear Admiral Jeremy Christopher, Commander for the Epsilon Psi
sector, and his administrative assistants had arrived the day after the
evacuees to discuss how Starfleet was going to handle the disaster and
what was to become of the Enterprise personnel.  Ship's Counselor Deanna
Troi had argued strongly for keeping the crew together for a few weeks to
work through the "grieving process," as she called it.
 Picard had listened to her with an odd self-awareness.  It seemed only a
short time ago that he'd been accused of paying too much attention to her
"psycho-babble." When he'd first taken command of the Enterprise, he
probably would have found her speech exactly that.  The idea that mature,
experienced officers would mourn the destruction of a ship as though it
were the death of a comrade--well, the captain of Starfleet's newest and
best exploration vessel would have tried his best not to consider it, even
though he had grieved at the demise of his first command, the Stargazer. 
Back then, as a young captain, he'd judged himself as overly sentimental
about it, told himself that it was a weakness to have so keenly felt the
loss of what was no more than a collection of duranium plates and optical
cable and dilithium crystals.  Seven years of working on the Enterprise
had taught him to know himself and his comrades better than that.
      Deanna was persuasive.  The meeting had ended with Central Command
promising them three weeks. It would probably take all of three weeks
anyway to complete the investigation of the crash, to salvage whatever
pieces could be reclaimed from the Enterprise, to clean up the disaster
site, and to decide on the reassignment of the personnel.  Rather than
letting them drift off one by one to their new positions whenever and
wherever qualifications and vacancies matched up, they would remain at
liberty on the Starbase under Picard's general authority and all transfers
would become effective at the end of the three-week period.  A ceremony to
decommission the Enterprise would be held at that time, a memorial service
for a fallen comrade.
      And so they had settled in at the new, not-yet-finished Starbase. 
It seemed an ideal solution, given that the circumstances which brought
them there were the polar opposite of ideal.  Some parts of the Starbase
were still under construction, but the entire crew could be comfortably
accommodated.  There would be time, for those who wished, to take leave of
absence to visit their homes and families and return to their Enterprise
family before the reassignment date.  For those who preferred to remain,
the Starbase's new department heads, who were already beginning to set up
operations despite the incomplete facilities, were mostly delighted at the
prospect of having the flagship's officers to consult and advise and
generally help out.  Deanna approved cautiously.  Light duties taken on
voluntarily would make everyone feel useful and restore their sense of
purpose and continuation.
      Medical services at the Starbase were already in operation, Dr. 
Beverly Crusher was glad to learn, so those who had been injured in the
crash could recuperate with state-of-the-art care.  Beverly had already
taken on some of the administrative load while the admiral considered
which of the resident physicians to name as chief medical officer.
      Although recreation was limited, the crew had always been inventive
about their leisure activities.  Most of all, they would be there together
to support one another.  It was a pretty good arrangement, in theory.
      In practice, it had quickly broken down.   
      Directly after their meeting, Chief Engineer Geordi LaForge had gone
to Admiral Christopher and asked to head the salvage crews that were going
out to evaluate the wreck of the Enterprise.  Christopher had heard
LaForge out without comment and then asked him to put in the standard
request for reassignment.  Picard knew, of course, that this was a dodge.
He presumed that the admiral had wanted to avoided an embarrassing
discussion in a public hallway.  And so it had happened more privately
with Picard and First Officer Will Riker when the chief engineer's request
came back the next day-- denied.
      "What the hell is this?" LaForge had exploded. "They're telling me I
can't even set foot on Veridian!"
      "You have to understand, Geordi," Picard explained, "that the
salvagers aren't just evaluating what can be rescued and recycled from the
ship.  They will also be investigating the circumstances of the crash and
examining the wreck for forensic evidence for the court martial."
      "But, Captain, I thought you said that the court martial is just a
formality, that a court martial is convened whenever a ship is lost.  Are
you saying that they intend to charge somebody in the loss of the
     "No, certainly not."  Picard noticed Riker's sudden downcast glance. 
"The Admiralty is well aware of the circumstances, and there is no
question of negligence.  Quite the opposite.  I expect Command to issue
commendations to the entire bridge crew for bringing her down with so
little loss of life --but there are protocols that must be observed."
      LaForge paced the ample space of the partially furnished Station
Commandant's office they'd given over to Picard.  His frustrated energy
made the area significantly smaller.  
      "Protocols!"  LaForge snorted.  "It seems like my whole life has
been figuring out how to get around the protocols! If I can beat the
protocols of physics, why can't anybody beat the protocols of the legal
system?  The system isn't natural law.  It's a bunch of stuff made up by
human beings.  But somehow it's stronger than duranium, more powerful than
antimatter, and deadlier than radiation!"
      "It would be a conflict of interest for the chief engineer of a
downed vessel to be any part of the investigation," the captain said as
gently as possible.  "Suppose there were culpable actions; you must have
an impartial investigation team to preclude any cover-up."
      LaForge plopped down onto a chair shaking his head in disgust. 
Picard could see that the argument was over.  If Geordi still didn't
understand the necessity of being excluded, he at least understood the
fact.  He was just having a hard time accepting it.
      "The Zakdorn salvage teams are more than capable. You know that
extreme fastidiousness is a cultural trait of theirs."  
      Will Riker rested a hand on Geordi's shoulder. "The Engineering
Department here is bound to have a billion things they'd like your help
      "You'd think so," Geordi said bitterly,  "but I've already been down
there.  I ran into an old acquaintance.  Glennis Mallory, the Chief of
Operations here, was a classmate of mine. We didn't exactly get along at
the Academy and time hasn't improved the relationship."
      "All right, then.  I have another idea," Riker said.  "The
Anaxagorus Outpost is only a couple of hours from here by shuttle. 
They're in the process of shutting down operations, but I've been told
that a number of projects on the Bohren Rift phenomena are still running
and need some help.  I could make some inquiries. "
      LaForge went through the see-saw gestures of indecision and then
nodded indifferently.
      "Make it so then, Number One," the captain said, and he dismissed
      "Captain... Commander," LaForge paused before the door.  Picard
raised an eyebrow.  If LaForge were going to start in again about the
Enterprise salvage, he would be forced to step on the engineer's feelings
harder than he wanted to. 
      "Thanks,"  LaForge smiled wanly.  "It's better than just doing

      And so Geordi was gone --after only two days on the Station.  Lt.
Commander Data was invited to accompany LaForge, but he had a destination
of his own.  
      "Well, Mr. Data!  And where have you been hiding?" Picard inquired
when he encountered the android officer in the main lounge of the Starbase
one night near the end of their first week.   Picard was making a habit of
stopping in the lounge for a little while each evening, but not because he
took any enjoyment in the atmosphere.  The cavernous expanse of the
Starbase lounge, while grand and impressive, offered nothing like the
intimacy of the Enterprise's Ten-Forward.  Besides, Guinan was not there
behind the bar, he didn't really like to drink in public, and, in fact,
Picard found it  difficult to sit aimlessly anywhere and just soak up his
surroundings.  However, he wanted the crew to feel that he was available
to them, and Counselor Troi had told him his presence among them was
symbolically reassuring.  He'd have felt more comfortable bringing a book
to read, but Troi had also insisted that no one would have the temerity to
interrupt him even to say hello if they saw him reading.
      Picard looked his former second officer up and down. "Or should I
ask 'when' have you been hiding?"
      Data was dressed up in full eighteenth century finery: lace collar
and cuffs, velvet waistcoat and matching knee breeches, and a white
roller-curled peruke on his head.  But what really did it to Picard was
the beauty mark painted above his lip on the left side.
      "I have been adjusting the systems software for the holodecks, sir,"
Data replied.
      "I didn't realize programming now required a costume."
      "It does not, sir. I was attempting to kill two aviforms with a
single petification ..."  The android waited and then, "That was a joke,
sir.  Self deprecating humor, an advanced form as compared to slap-stick
or puns."
     Picard smiled obligingly. "What two avi--?  What was the other
purpose besides the holodeck programming?" 
      "My own emotional program.  I wish to gain real proficiency.  I am
spending almost  sixteen hours each day on the holodeck system installing
a variety of emotionally provocative simulations."
      "Data, don't you think you would learn more interacting with real
people? Part of our stay here was intended for just that purpose --that
the officers and crew have social commerce together." 
      "Yes sir, but I understand that in the past, my behavior in response
to my emotions was not always appropriate.  In socializing with my fellow
crew mates, I would not wish to cause them pain or offense during this
time of their emotional difficulty."
      Picard intended to tell his android friend that sharing that
difficulty could make it lighter, but then Data's face took on a look of
profound sadness that Picard had never seen there before.
     "I had thought I wasxdefective, when I could not feel emotion in a
situation that required one.  Now I see that it is just as grievous a
defect to feel emotion when the situation requires that emotion be put
      "Data," Picard said softly, "That's a very human problem and not a
defect in anyone.  But in any case, no one expects you or any member of
the crew to just shunt aside your feelings about the Enterprise."
      "But is it not true that we are to 'get over' these feelings of
sorrow and nostalgia?  That our objective is not to feel a longing for the
 Enterprise anymore?"
      Picard looked into the dark amber depths of his cognac and reflected
that Data had always asked the hardest questions.
      "I think our objective is to hold on to the good feelings we had
there and to let them continue to live in us even though the surroundings
have changed."
      Data considered this.  "It is harder than I thought to possess
emotion, Captain.  I think I understand now why one can also say 'to be
possessed of emotion'." 
      They drank together, and then Picard asked, "By the way, what
emotion were you going for in the French eighteenth century?  Gallantry,
romance, joie de vivre?"
      Data shook off his melancholy. "Chauvinism," he said earnestly.
      "I'll take that as a joke" Picard said icily, "but I'd suggest that
you go back to puns."
      "I gave up puns," Data squirmed, "when I referred to Geordi's last
attempt to grow a beard as a LaForgery. He had much the same reaction."


From!!!!!chi-news.c!!gatech!swrinde!!news-e!!!not-for-mail Fri
Mar 29 12:43:15 1996
Xref: alt.startrek.creative:35694
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel Jigsaw Ch1 Part 2
Date: 27 Mar 1996 23:34:26 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 204
Message-ID: <4jd4si$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 1 "Something Else" Part II

      "Even so," Picard said after recounting the episode to Beverly
Crusher at dinner in his quarters later on, "I support his efforts. I just
can't help but wonder if Data's fascination with his new sensibilities is
going to detach him from us rather than bring him closer."
      Beverly was setting the low table in front of the sofa.  Dinner was
going to be a casual, companionable time together.  "He's changed.  Change
is always unsettling.  And Lord knows we're going through one of the
biggest changes we've had to face in a long time." 
      The door chimed.  Motioning to Beverly to stay seated, Picard spoke,
"Come," got up, and moved to his desk.  Picard's duties as captain had so
thoroughly absorbed him aboard the Enterprise that he never considered
himself off-duty.   But it was a rare occurrence for anyone to bring
business to him in his quarters, since his first officer had been such a
stickler on chain of command. Starbase personnel, however, seemed never to
have heard of it.
       The door opened and Picard blinked in surprise at Lieutenant Worf,
the Enterprise's Klingon security officer, who strode into the room,
stopping short as he saw the table laid for dinner with  Dr. Crusher
ensconced on the sofa and Picard in off-duty attire.
      "I beg your pardon, Captain," Worf rumbled. "I did not realize ..."
      "Not at all, Mr. Worf.  It was good of you to stop in before getting
underway."  The captain turned back to Dr. Crusher.  "Mr. Worf is
departing the Starbase tonight.  He will be taking some time to visit
family on the Klingon homeworld."
      Beverly smiled and nodded.  Apparently, she knew of his plans.
      Worf's gaze faltered on the doctor, bounced off the captain and then
settled on the table as neutral ground.  The security officer seemed
rather insecure himself, far more embarrassed and awkward than the
situation called for.  It was, after all, only their dinner that he'd
interrupted, and a very ordinary one at that  (not even the full-blown
romantic, candlelight dinner that Picard had had in mind, till Beverly
bustled up early and took charge.)
      Worf's face settled into one of its deeper frowns.  "I wish to
rescind my request for leave."
     This was unexpected.  When Worf originally requested leave, he had
discussed his plans with Picard.  They spoke of the future generally and
about Worf's prospects.  Worf was deeply dedicated to the pure Klingon
ideals of honor and  kinship.  He wanted at some point further on to
return home for good and take up his position as head of the House of
Mogh--perhaps, he had mused, even take an active role in the government. 
Picard had enthusiastically endorsed the aspirations of his officer and
friend to a future as a statesman.  But for Worf to do that, he would need
to begin laying foundations now.
      "You do wish to take leave now?  I don't understand.  Is there a
problem?" Picard asked.
      Worf glanced at Dr. Crusher who was now dedicatedly adjusting the
placement of the glasses on the table although they were placed correctly
already.  He drew himself up as though he were gathering his dignity, like
a cape, around him.
      "I will not require leave at this time."
      Picard would have liked to discuss the situation with him, but it
was clear that Worf would not speak in front of Beverly, and it was not
clear, given his infinitely more frozen than normal countenance, that he
would explain, even to his captain, what had caused such a sudden change
of mind.
      "Very well, Mr. Worf.  You are welcome to remain.  Please let
Commander Riker know of your new plans so that he can update the leave
      That was the usual procedure and utterly routine, so why did Worf
look so discomfited?  Come to think of it, why had he not simply seen
Riker in the first place?  
      "Perhaps as I will be available, there are some duties you might
      Picard was mystified.  "I can't imagine what duties."
      "Then I shall continue to serve during my normal watch rotation."  
      "No watch assignments have been made during the leave."
     "Then I shall be in meditation."
      And with that pronouncement, Worf left even before the captain's
"Dismissed" had quite gotten out.
      Jean-Luc turned to Beverly, who was now avoiding him with the table
      "Do you know anything about this?"
      "I think you were supposed to provide the excuse to stay."
      "Why?  Would you please tell me what's going on?     
      "Well," she sighed finally, "you know what it means in our culture
when someone brings a 'friend' home to meet the familyx.  From what I
understand about Klingon culture, the visit, according to their courting
customs, is even more of a declaration of intentions.  Worf was thinking
about asking Deanna to go home with him, but with all the imputed
significance of such a visit,  I'll bet that either she declined or he
chickened out.  I don't think either of them is quite sure just how far
they want to take this relationship.  I mean, they're attracted to one
another, but they're so different-- and then, of course, there's Willx"
      Picard had already heard more than he was comfortable with. "Worf
should go on his own then.  His brother Kurn has been urging him to come
home for almost a year now to establish the line of inheritance."
      "Yes, he probably should."  Beverly said, deciding it would be best
to take the whole topic less seriously.  "It might prevent an even worse
scenario.  After all, Deanna could want him to visit Lwaxana."
      Jean-Luc looked dumbstruck.  What would the "Holder of the Sacred
Chalice of Riix, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed" think of Worf and her
      "Maybe it wouldn't be so bad.  Maybe she'd like the idea," Beverly
grinned. "The House of Mogh?-- 'Royalty, my dear, royalty!'"
      And then Jean-Luc had to laugh, and Beverly with him.
     "I think you needed that," Beverly said.  She picked up the bottle of
wine Jean-Luc had chosen for their dinner and began to struggle with the
      "I needed you to restore my sense of balance," he replied raising
his empty glass to her. "Beverly, I think you, more than anyone, have made
the best of our predicament here."
       "Don't give me too much credit.  The medical wing at this Starbase
is not hard to take at all..."  The wine was momentarily forgotten as she
launched into a description of the facilities and the various departments
and the eminent scientists slated to begin research projects there. 
      "You know, I've had so much clinical practice aboard the Enterprise
for the past six years--over a thousand people to care for, routine and
emergency health needs, I'd almost forgotten what it's like just to devote
myself to pure theory and research.  I admit, I find it refreshing.  It's
an incredible facility."      
      "Just don't get too used to it," he warned.  "We're likely to get
somewhat less than a galaxy class ship for the time being."
      There was a strained look about her smile.  Picard reached over and
with studied casualness tugged the cork from the wine bottle.
      "I have no idea yet what the assignment will be, but of course, I
intend to request you as my chief medical officer."
      She was flustered suddenly.  "Jean-Luc, I'm ... flattered."
       Flattered?  He watched the color rise in her face.  
       And then she changed the subject, but in her tone there was an odd
note, as though she were confessing something. "Admiral Christopher has
called several times.  He's asked me a number of questions about setting
up the departments and selecting the projects....  He knew that I'd headed
Starfleet Medical for a year."
      "And?" Had she changed the subject at all?
      "And nothing," she said, shaking her hair in that abrupt, impetuous
way she had.  "I just thought you'd like to know what I've been doing.
They need a hand.  Decisions have to be made.  Nothing's been settled. 
Everything is decidedly unsettled."  She seized his glass and poured,
sloshing the wine. "Here, let's try it."
      Though it was a good vintage, it had somehow acquired a raw,
unfinished taste.

      Deanna Troi, who had checked in with the captain each day since
their arrival, had found by the end of their first week that the most
reliable place to find the Captain was in the half-furnished office of the
not-yet-appointed Station Commandant.   And that was where she found
Picard the evening of their ninth day of exile at 22:00 hours, behind the
huge black marble desk littered with padds and sample containers, studying
a solid block of text on his computer console and comparing its
information with a holographic projection of some structure that might
have been one of the shuttle bays now under construction.
      "I see that we are still at our light duties," Troi observed shaking
her head at the mess.  Even her ironic smiles were beautiful and invited
her colleagues' communication.
      Picard returned the smile a little ruefully. "The duties are a
little heavier than I'd thought," he replied, getting up to clear a chair
for Troi.  "You don't suppose I've developed a magnetic attraction for
requisition orders, do you?"
      She looked over the heaps of material on the desk.  "I've been told
that mass has something to do with gravity," she said, " but the further
away you get, the less the attraction."
      He didn't miss her meaning.  "I know," he said,  "and I do intend to
get away a little myself.  It's just that Admiral Christopher has never
been keen on overseeing the details of this project and now that there are
rumblings about the non-aligned planets and even rumors about the
Romulans, he is justly preoccupied with the strategic and defense
      "And they haven't appointed a commanding officer for the base yet,
and you are the senior officer present," Troi recited the rest of the
reasons for him. 
      Picard shrugged.  "Well, I suppose I'd rather be busy, though
running a Starbase is not exactly what I'd rather be doing.  It's been a
long time since I had to untangle this much red tape."  He paused a moment
wondering what could possibly be the history of an expression like "red
      "I think, Captain, that it's good to have a little distraction." 
Deanna went to the replicator and ordered tea for herself and Picard.  "No
one should just sit and brood on our misfortune.  But you don't want to
arrive at the decommissioning without having had some time for reflection
      "I have been thinking about it, reflecting on it all, remembering
the Enterprise," he said.  And they sat a moment in silence with one
another,  a respectful moment of silence for the dead.  
      She finally lifted her head and looked around.  "You know, this
place looks like a crash site," she commented.
      "I'm trying my best to sort it out.  I just hope I'm doing at least
an adequate job."  
      "You hope you're doing only an adequate job," she responded. "Just
so Starfleet doesn't decide that for your next assignment, the place they
most need you is here behind a desk."  She picked up a couple of the padds
and gave them a cursory glance before putting them back down on the desk. 
"Captain, you could delegate a lot of this.  Don't you think that details
of this sort are more within the purview of a first officer than the
commanding officer? Don't you think Commander Riker's talents could be put
to good use here?"
     So, Picard thought, the chat stops here.  That's what she had come to
see him about.  "I suppose they could, but Commander Riker's talents are
in demand elsewhere.  He's told you about the request from the Strategic
      "He mentioned it, yes."
      Yes, of course, he would. 


From!!!!!chi-news.c!!gatech!swrinde!!news-e!!!not-for-mail Fri
Mar 29 12:43:21 1996
Xref: alt.startrek.creative:35695
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel Jigsaw Ch1 Part 3
Date: 27 Mar 1996 23:36:18 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 234
Message-ID: <4jd502$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 1 "Something Else" Part III

       Riker had arrived in his office that morning carrying a cargo
container about a half meter square which he placed on the desk in front
of the Captain on top of the mounds of trivia screaming for consideration.
 Picard looked up at his first officer quizzically.  Did this new box need
his attention right now?
      Riker flicked his eyes at it.  Yes, now.
      Picard sighed and grappled with the fastening on the container.  The
lid opened and a mass of insulating material sprang up at him as pressure
was released on the contents.  The startled captain gave Riker a sharp
look.  This had better be good.
      Riker composed his face into bland innocence.
      The captain reached gingerly into the fluffy stuff, wary now of some
practical joke.  His hand grazed an object, smooth and rounded -- glazed
earthenware with designs cut into the surface.  He knew immediately what
it was.
      Riker permitted himself a small suave smile at the relief and
pleasure evident in the captain's expression. "It's usually not so
enjoyable to haul somebody up to your office for a second time," he
      The object was a Kurlan Naiskos, an artifact of an ancient
civilization.  The rare and beautiful piece had been given to Picard by
Professor Galen, the captain's former archeology instructor and mentor,
when the elderly academic had visited the Enterprise last year.   From the
moment of its arrival, the primitive sculpture of a humanoid head had held
pride of place amongst the treasures of the captain's archeological
collection, mostly pieces that Picard himself had uncovered at digs or
that he had found unrecognized in alien antiquity bazaars.  
      The captain removed the ceremonial figure carefully from the
container and set it on the desk,  running appreciative fingers down the
dome that represented the head of the artist who had shaped the clay in
his own image.  Picard lifted the dome.  Within the hollow interior stood
a dozen smaller terra cotta figures.  Picard withdrew them one by one,
turning them over lovingly in his hands.
      "Is everyone all right, sir?" Riker asked.
      "Yes... all intact. It's a miracle they survived the crash."
      When the Captain's personal effects had been delivered from the
crash site, the Naiskos had not been among them.  Picard assumed that it
had been smashed beyond recognition. Though it could have been
reconstituted with a transporter, there would have been no point.  Its
value would have been lost. 
      "What's really miraculous," Riker grinned, "is that I was able to
get aboard the ship."
     "You were permitted to board the Enterprise?  How did that happen?" 
      Riker was fairly beaming.  "I told them they'd missed an important
piece of my captain's archeological collection and that set them off
immediately.  I said that in view of their failure to account for it, I'd
have to conduct the search myself.  They said, out of the question!  Then,
I told them I was a personal friend of Kohlrami, who would no doubt
support my strategy for dealing with the problem.  So they called him.
      "Believe it or not, the eminent Mr. Kohlrami, Zakdorn strategist par
excellence, backed me up!"
      "A pay-off for all the trouble he gave us during the war games." 
      "So they let me through the security shield -- after they'd scanned
me twice.  And then when they had scanned me again, I beamed down under
very close guard.  They held a transporter lock on me so they could
minutely record where I was the whole time I was there, and Kohlrami and
their security personnel accompanied me every second so I wouldn't wander
off and remove part of the Enterprise's computer system or her impulse
      Picard delicately put down the last of the little men.  "How did she
look?"  He had to ask even though he wasn't sure he wanted to know.
      "Cleaned, straightenedxdevastated," Riker said softly.  Obviously he
was saddened by what he had seen of their ship.  
      "Anyway, being Zakdorns, the salvage teams had all the recovered
items in the cargo bays grouped by the cabin where each was found, but
also, being Zakdorns, they had each item labeled as to the type of
goods--clothing, household furnishings etc."  Riker was beginning to smile
again.  "You requested them to look for a statuary.  When I found him,"
Riker patted the Naiskos affectionately, "he was keeping company with a
soup tureen."
      Picard shook his head.  "No wonder they told me it was gone.  But I
had it on a shelf by my desk.  I have no idea what protected it from the
       "Probably fell into the sofa. Still, I'm kind of surprised the
little guys inside didn't get smashed."
      "Well, you see," Picard opened the lid of the Naiskos to show Riker
the interior, "each figure has its own niche, so that when they're all
inside, they fit together.  It makes the interior a lot more solid than
you'd think." 
     Riker peered inside and nodded.  Apparently, it was not a feature he
thought impressive enough for comment.  
      Picard replaced the dome tenderly. "Thank you, Will."
      Riker nodded, but he remained standing in front of the desk.  His
gaze wandered to the window.
      "Sit down," Picard indicated a chair. 
      Riker sat.
      Picard waited.
     "I guess they asked youx?  About the Strategic Wing?" Riker began.
     Despite having been forewarned by memo from Admiral Christopher,
Picard realized that he had no idea what he was going to say to his First
Officer.  He considered the usual coercions he'd used to get Riker even to
take shore leave. He remembered particularly the difficult impartiality he
had tried to maintain in conversations with the younger man about his next
career step.  The last time, he'd pushed him hard about taking command of
the Melbourne, and despite the way things had turned out, the captain 
didn't think he'd been wrong in principle.   Picard got ready to argue
that it was time for Will Riker to think with some cold ambition.
      "...I thought I would accept, sir--if you don't need me here, that
is. I could certainly pass on it if--"
      "No," Picard cut in.  He shifted abruptly in his chair and tugged at
his uniform, looking at the profile of his Number One.  "There's no reason
why you should.  None of this," he gestured at the clutter, "is crucial. 
A lot of it can and should wait for the person who'll really command from
this office."
      "That's how I feel about it, too, sir.  We're all just sort of
filling in right now.  Besides, this job they want me to do--it's only for
a couple of weeks.  I'll be back in plenty of time.  There's more than
enough time before the decommissioning."
      Watching him straighten up and toss off a smile, Picard wondered
whether it was poker that had made Riker so credible in pretense and
whether on occasion his ability to bluff went as far as self-deception.
      Picard ran his hand down the Naiskos and fussed with its positioning
on the desk.   "They were a wise people," he mused,  "to see the self as
many selves, many men who dwell within each of us.  In one life, a time to
be a child and a father, a lover and a soldier, one who follows and one
who leads...  Will, I presume we'll see you for the decommissioning --?"
      Riker was about to protest once again, but then he abruptly
relinquished the effort.
      "I'll be there, sir."
      "Then there is one last duty I will require.  I'd like your input in
the selection of a new First Officer."
      For a moment there was utter silence and then, simply, "Understood,
      Picard's smile carried a mixture of pride and--no, not
regret--nostalgia.   As they both rose to their feet, he offered his hand,
and Riker clasped it heartily, and Picard remarked to lighten the mood,
"Well, I certainly hope there's one man within me who's an
administrator--at least for next few weeks."
      Riker glanced once more at the Naiskos.  "For myself, sir," he said
wistfully, "I'd rather think that however many people I was on the
outside, I'd still be only one man on the inside."   He shrugged, a bit
sheepish.  "Then again, I've been told I don't know anything about art. 
You know, when Professor Galen first showed it to me, I thought it was a
ship--what with the outer design and the people inside ?   But, maybe I
just have a bad tendency to see everything as a ship."  
     Deanna ran her finger along the edge of the black marble desktop.  "I
thought we had an agreement from Admiral Christopher that all
reassignments would take place no earlier than two weeks from now."  
      "They need an experienced officer right away to do a survey of the
perimeter defenses, and Will is, after all, an excellent choice.  Besides,
it's not actually a reassignment.  It's only for a week or ten days."
      She leveled her eyes at him. It was not an expression of empathy. 
For once her own feelings had slipped out ahead of her, instead of her
soliciting someone else's--and her own feelings were edged with anger.
      Picard huffed a sigh of resignation.  "All right," he conceded.  "We
all know what this is...  Will is well overdue for promotion and a command
of his own.  The Admiralty has been waiting for him.  They offered the
Drake, the Aries, the Melbourne, or he could have requested any one of the
ships that they recommissioned after the Borg--"  
      She averted her eyes in deference to what they both remembered about
the Borg, and she was still looking away when he continued.
      "--but in each case, he decided not to leavexfor whatever reasons."
      She cleared her throat.  "So now Command is offering him a more
direct route up the ladder?"
      "I think they've understood for some time that Will's interest was
in commanding the Enterprise.  That's been an obstacle for both him and
the Admiralty.  Even if I had been inclined to move on, how do you turn
over the flagship to someone who hasn't actually commanded in his own
right?  But now ... now there is no Enterprise.  So perhaps, with that no
longer a consideration, they wonder whether he'd be open to a different
sort of captaincy entirely: a captaincy without a ship, but one that would
make up a bit for lost time." He sipped his tea and noticed that she
hadn't yet touched hers.
      "Then he'll be offered a permanent position with the Strategic
      "He'd be very good at it."
      "And you approved?"
       Actually, he sighed to himself, it was only a courtesy that he was
asked at all.  He was a captain without a ship himself;  his prerogatives
over his crew had consequently diminished.  And technically, Command could
revoke their three-week stay and reassign every single one of them anytime
they pleased.  In some ways it was better that they really weren't asking
his permission to transfer Riker.  Picard wouldn't have shirked making the
decision, but he felt relieved that he didn't have to sort out the choice.
 It didn't matter then that reason and emotion contradicted one another. 
Whatever he felt and whatever he thought--it was moot.   Command had
      "I told them yes, I thought he was an excellent choice."
      "I'm not arguing that he wouldn't be." She folded her hands tightly,
but they would not stay still in her lap as she intended.  "I just feel
that it's come at an--inappropriate time --for such a decision--I mean,
when someone is emotionally vulnerable --dealing with a sense of loss--to
have to consider a life-changing course of action, all in the space of a
few days, especially something that you didn't think you'd ever have to
consider--it's just not fair!"
      "So," Picard said slowly, "You're concerned about Will's having to
make a decision about something very important before he's sure what he
wants or where he stands?"
     She stood there startled, transfixed by whatever thoughts his words
had provoked.  And then she looked down and began to blink, and he came
around the desk and took her hands.
      "You're right," he said.  "Deanna, of course, you're right--it isn't
fair.   Sometimes things happen before we're ready for them.  And
sometimes it looks like we have no choice.  But we always do:  to affirm
or deny, to go on or to hold our ground--"
      "--fight or flee."  She shook her hair back, flashing a brittle
smile. "I know what you want to say, Captain.  It's in our genes; to
struggle between accepting change or resisting it, even the fear of
choosing between them is natural to us."
      "And natural or not, it's hard to deal with.  But what is most
frightening is when we don't really know how we're going to feel about our
choice later, even when we can see it rationally." 
      He waited a moment and then she was calm, at least on the outside. 
He reflected what a strain it had been to her--everyone else's trauma, and
now her own uncertainties.  He felt an impulse to hug her.  They had been
through much together.  But he stood still.
      She removed her hands from his. She rose to leave.  
      He hoped she understood.  The choice had to be left to Riker.   He,
Jean-Luc Picard, could not be the one to say "no."  "No" would have been
an indulgence of his convenience at the expense of his friend's career;
"No" would have been to admit that the destruction of the Enterprise had
exacted a huge emotional toll from everyone that still needed time to be
fully paid;  "No" would have meant that he himself was trying to deny what
rationally he knew lay ahead: the dispersal of his crew, the end of a
cherished time in his life, and the inevitable moving on to something

       Captain Jean-Luc Picard, commanding officer of the UFP Enterprise
(late), realized that he was still staring out the windows.  The shuttle
craft was gone, not even a speck remained.  He looked down at the clutter
on the desk.  Everything now was something else. 

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Sat Mar 30 13:25:13 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch2 Part 1
Date: 30 Mar 1996 00:05:08 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 282
Message-ID: <4jife4$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 2: "Intelligence" Part I

      For the first time in a long time he wasn't piloting himself.  He
was a passenger this time, the only one, and once he had stowed his bag
and stretched out in the back of the VIP shuttle, he had the unaccustomed
leisure to do nothing in order to depart from Starbase 191.  He didn't
even pretend to read or work or otherwise occupy himself, but simply
stared out the aft portal, half listening to the drone of the pilot, an
officer he didn't know,  running through the embarkation routines,
reciting course and destination:  ETA 9:00 on the Renaissance class UFP
      He felt around inside himself for that twinge of exhilaration and 
expectancy that leaving should excite in him.  Throughout his career, in
all his travels,  no matter how much he had enjoyed his last stop, the
next one had always held the thrill of something new and fresh and
challenging.  This time he couldn't yet find that spark.  
       When had he ever taken off without it?   He couldn't remember even
once.  Not even when he'd first left home.  He had been very young then, a
teenager with nowhere to go and no one to depend upon anymore, angry at
his father, determined to forge his own fate, ready to take on the whole
galaxy.  Yes, he'd taken off with a fire in his belly then, and he was
going to conquer it all.  Now, after all that time and as much as he had
conquered, a voice inside him asked what he had to show for it.  This time
he had no one to be angry with but himself.  
 He had told himself that he shouldn't take the loss so personally, but
the traditions of the fleet ran deep in him.  The celebrated exploration
record of the UFP Enterprise 1701-D  belonged rightly to the renowned and
illustrious Jean-Luc Picard.  But in the time-honored mores, the captain
was considered just a tenant on the vessel.  The ship itself, its care and
provisioning and furnishing and nurturing, belonged to her first officer. 
And he had lost her.
        These feelings were something he probably should have discussed
with the Counselor, but, well, that was another matter, and it surely
didn't bear on this sense of loss.  Surely not.  
       He watched as the Starbase receded until it was just another
glimmering dot in the vast black void of space.  It was almost as empty
out there as it felt inside him.  He might as well try to sleep.

      At 09:00 just as the flight plan had said, the pilot announced to
his passenger, Commander William T. Riker, that they were docked on the
UFP Stark and that he had clearance to disembark.
      "Welcome aboard, Commander."  The outstretched hand belonged to
Commander Vera Aranchez, the CO of the Stark.  Smaller class craft like
the Stark were typically commanded by officers under the rank of captain. 
It was the sort of command Riker had turned down on the Drake to take the
first officer's position aboard the Enterprise.
     "Thank-you, Commander.  It's good to get here, at last."  
      "Admiral Christopher is aboard. He would like to see you
immediately."  Riker ducked his head under the low back portal of the
shuttlecraft and bounded down the ramp.  One didn't keep an admiral
     "Rather long trip by shuttle, what?" Aranchez looked him over
somewhat curiously, and Riker began to feel uncomfortably like he was
missing something.   She indicated the way with her hand, and Riker fell
in beside her as they exited the shuttle bay, wondering why she and not
some ensign was checking in a transit passenger and conducting him to
      "I'm sorry the Stark couldn't make the detour to pick you up,"  she
explained. "We're making an inspection tour and unfortunately, we don't
get back  to the Starbase for a day or two yet.
     "Quite all right, Commander.  I wouldn't have expected to be picked
up, and I have had longer shuttle trips."
      "It always seems longer when you're waiting," Aranchez said, making
Riker wonder whether the "you" referred to him or someone else. They left
the shuttle bay and entered the lift.
     It was quiet in the car as they rode upward.  Aranchez volunteered no
further comments, and if Riker wasn't certain how to interpret the ones
she had made, he was equally uncertain whether to confess that he found
his welcome a trifle disturbing, though nothing had been said or done that
was distinctly out of order.  He examined Aranchez's face for some clue as
they ascended to deck three.  
    "Commander, has something happened while I was in transit?"
      Aranchez gave him a perfectly blank look.
      "I mean, I'm getting the feeling that you haven't just left the
light on for me, so to speak."
      Aranchez continued her bland expression, staring straight ahead.
"I'll leave all that for you to discuss with Admiral Christopher."  She
exited the lift and stopped abruptly as they reached the first door.  She
turned to face him.  She was apparently not accompanying him any further. 
"Here are your new orders,"  she said handing him a padd upon which the
display began with his identification codes.  "You are now officially
attached to Intelligence Division Epsilon Alpha under the command of
Captain Curt Adjan."
      "I beg your pardon?"
      "You heard me, Commander."
      "But --I have orders to do a tactical evaluation survey, consulting
under the Strategic Wing.  No one said anything about Intelligence."
      "No one should say anything about Intelligence," she replied
pointedly.  "Have a nice day." And she disappeared down the  empty hall.
      Riker blew out his pent up breath and stared down at the padd.  The
next screen did indeed confirm that he had been transferred to
Intelligence and was to report immediately upon arrival to Captain Adjan. 
 Riker stood in the hall betting himself that his uneasy feeling was only
going to grow.  But however it had happened, orders were orders, and he
was here now.  There was nothing to do but hit the chime on the door.
       When it opened, he waited a second for an invitation that was not
forthcoming.  So, without any preamble, he entered to find a second
surprise.  Admiral Ranier, head of Intelligence, was standing at the desk
with Rear Admiral Christopher reviewing a star map, which she shut down at
Riker's approach.
     "Hello, Commander," the Admiral nodded in his direction.  "You've met
the Rear Admiral; I'd like to present your new commanding officer, Captain
Curt Adjan."  The admiral moved aside to reveal a slight dark-haired  man
seated at the desk.  He had a sharp, shrewd face.  His ears, slightly
pointed, suggested that he was part Vulcan, but the eyes were unmistakably
      Captain Adjan rose from his desk, and offered his hand, and though
Riker hesitated only marginally in taking it, Adjan observed it and
imputed correctly Riker's ambivalence.  Well, he wasn't much enthused
himself, but the source of his displeasure was not Riker, and he needed
this man to keep all the plans in place.
     "Yes, Commander, I suppose you feel rather hijacked, right?"  Admiral
Ranier didn't wait for a confirmation. "It is rather short notice, and you
really don't know very much about working with the Division, but, let me
assure you, the captain knows all about you --"
      Riker looked from one to the other sharply.  Considering his last
brush with the Intelligence division, the Pegasus affair, he wasn't sure
how to take the Admiral's remark.
      Adjan picked up on it quickly.  Though he had never met Riker, he
had seen him before, a little less than a year ago -- at the court-martial
of Riker's former commander, Admiral Pressman.   
      Adjan remembered the case very well.   Pressman had commanded the
Enterprise on the mission to salvage the lost starship Pegasus to secretly
retrieve a prototype interphase cloaking device specifically outlawed in
the Algeron Treaty.  The true nature of the mission was revealed only to
Riker who had gone along till it was clear that Pressman intended to
secure the device at any cost and begin its redevelopment.  Then Riker had
blown the whole mission to his captain who immediately arrested Pressman
and, albeit reluctantly, confined his own first officer to the brig while
the whole mess sorted itself out.  
      The court-martial had been an ugly affair in which everyone involved
came away tarnished, including Ranier, who eventually convinced the
oversight committee that she had wanted the device destroyed to correct
the mistake of the previous Intelligence chief.   Riker, who as a young
ensign aboard the Pegasus, had followed his captain's illegal orders and
participated in the cover-up, escaped being broken in rank but received a
censure on an otherwise exemplary record.
 It was no wonder to Adjan that Mr. Riker looked like he'd walked into a
pit of vipers.
     "Believe me, Commander," Adjan said smoothly,  "you come with the
highest recommendations, and I'm really pleased to have you on the team
for this mission."
      Riker wasn't entirely mollified.  "Begging the captain's pardon,
what team, what mission?"
      Adjan acknowledged the questions by looking to the Christopher, who 
came around to the front of his desk and leaned against the edge while he
indicated that Riker was to sit down in the chair in front of him.  
      "So, tell me Commander," Christopher began at last, "what have you
heard lately about our friends, the Romulans?  What's the general opinion
in the schoolyard?"
      Riker waited a moment before answering.  "Sir, are you asking me
what is accepted knowledge about the Romulans, or what rumors I might have
heard, or what I believe about them myself after an eight year exploration
tour and a dozen encounters?"
      Christopher had come on to him like a professor querying one of his
duller students, but it was clear that Riker wasn't going to sit there and
let his knuckles get rapped.  
      "Well, Commander, I think perhaps you know what we're talking
about," Admiral Ranier suggested.  "There was some hint of Romulan
involvement in the destruction of the Enterprise, wasn't there?"
     Captain Adjan had to admire the control he witnessed then. "I was in
command of the Enterprise when she went down, sir," Riker said coolly, as
Adjan considered what better empathic skills would have told him about the
feeling underlying his statement.  "Although the matter is still under
investigation, I do not have any doubt that the Romulans will be shown to
have been only peripherally involved in the disaster." 
      The Rear Admiral fairly smirked.
      "If you mean the trilithium business, sir," Riker continued, "I
thought that one had already gone up in smoke.  The explosion at their
Alpha moon laboratories is supposed to be related to the trilithium
project.  It's consistent with the opinion of those of us who have had
experience with the Romulans: generally their science is lagging ours. 
Also, since their defeat at the hands of the Jem Had'ar, they've pretty
much retreated to lick their wounds."
       Ranier scrutinized him.  "There are diplomatic feelers being
extended from the Empire.  They're talking about the conciliation and
cooperation nowadays.  I take it you'd welcome that."
     "Yes, sir.  It would be good sense on their part."
     Christopher continued to smile superciliously as Ranier asked, "So
you'd trust their gestures at a rapproachment?"
      "Not from here to the door," Riker answered wiping the smile off
Christopher's face.
      There was a long dead pause.  Adjan had no doubt that Riker had
picked up the entire clash between the Intelligence Chief and the sector
       "That is your opinion, Mr. Riker?" Christopher said tightly.
      "Sirs," Adjan spoke up as the two continued to contest at staring
each other down.   "Perhaps it would be best if I briefed the Commander on
this mission and what we expect of him."  
      Although Christopher was answering Adjan, his eyes never left
Riker's.  "Report to me when you're finished with him," he said curtly.  
Then he nodded at Adjan and left with Ranier.
      Adjan exhaled audibly, a cue for Riker, but the ex-First Officer of
the Enterprise continued to sit ramrod straight in the chair.  Adjan sat
down next to him, another cue.  It too was ignored -- or rather, refused.
      "Commander, suppose we start again.  You know that every so often
there's a new rumor about the latest threat to Federation security.
Intelligence gets them all the time. Someone's imagination goes to work
overtime and the paranoia level rises every time this conspiracy addict's
scenario gets repeated down the line.  Things have been edgy in this
sector for a while, and it takes very little to hype up some first-rate
gossip -- like maybe that the Romulans have a little scheme cooking?"
      Good.  The Commander had at least deigned to look at him.  Adjan
continued,  "Imagine yourself in my position.  It's your job to be
suspicious, but within reason. You have doubts about the whole business.
It doesn't really check out.  But let's say you have some hot shots in
your division.  They'd like a chance to strut their stuff.  They propose
to lead a team to investigate the rumors that they probably started
themselves.  When you turn them down, because it's too risky and the lead
is too weak, they go over your head and get the expedition okayed. The
dream team starts to poke around one of our most productive but sensitive
sites looking for quick answers instead of making a proper study.   And
then, they strike a piece of--" Adjan looked down into his tightly folded
hands " --what was I about to call it?  Luck?"  
     The word was so bitter that  Riker felt his resentment shading toward
something else.  Whatever assignment Adjan needed him for, it was nothing
the captain was happy about either.  
     "What exactly happened, sir?"
    Adjan got up and moved to the desk.  "One of our agents, supported by
a hand-picked team, took passage on a Suari freighter with business in
Romulan space.  The freighter stopped at the D'Klat station six days ago,
where our agent intercepted a Romulan courier and stole his dispatch, a
single isolinear optical chip."
     "What was on it?"
     "We don't know. It was coded, and so sensitive that the Romulans were
carrying it by hand.  They wouldn't even risk transmitting the data on
subspace.  With that kind of paranoia, our agent decided that maybe it
wasn't a good idea for him to try to transmit the data either, so he
informed us that he was bringing it back himself for analysis by our
cryptographers.  He was able to ascertain only that the contents were a
dispatch destined for our Romulan counterparts in intelligence.
Unfortunately, the Romulans picked up his trail and pursued our man to the
Suari transport depot off Draemos where they caught up to him."
      Adjan was sure that Riker knew the answer without having to be told.
      "He met with an 'accident'."
      "So what happened to the dispatch?"
      Adjan smiled crookedly. "A good question.  When we recovered the
body of our agent, the ILOC was gone.  You'd think the Romulans managed to
retrieve it.  Yet, they have bought the freighter from the Suari owner,
and we have reliable sources on Draemos who report that a Romulan squad
has spent the last five days at the transport depot renting a suite and a
dock site to do 'renovations' on it."
      "Searching for the ILOC."
       "It didn't turn up in the lost and found."
      "Is it possible that the Suaris have it?"
      "They are holding the pilot of the freighter. The authorities on
Draemos have interrogated him with the 'help' of  telepaths, and he
doesn't have it.  If he did, the Suaris would have returned it to the
Romulans immediately.  They don't like being in the middle of a
Romulan-Federation intelligence mess.  The Suaris just want to conduct
their business. They want the Romulans gone already."
      "So they're still there?"
     "Our latest report from Draemos is that the Romulans called off the
search two days ago.   But they haven't left yet.  So tell me, Commander,
what do you think their behavior means?"
      "It could mean they found the ILOC, but then, why bother to hang
around?  Or, it could mean that they're getting ready to say they've
failed, they quit, and they figure no one else will find it either.   But
-- I'm sure that no one in Intelligence is buying that one either,
Captain.  A far more credible hypothesis, for anyone who's ever dealt with
a Romulan, is that they're still very much on the case.  They've just
decided to see if anyone will do the looking for them.  If no one comes in
a reasonable amount of time, they'll figure that the goods are lost
forever; if someone comes and digs it up, bang!  They have them covered. 
I would suggest that you try to gauge what's a reasonable amount of time
to a Romulan and plan on arriving after that."  Riker looked dead into
Adjan's carefully dispassionate eyes.  "But that's not what you're going
to do, is it, Captain?  That's not what Admiral Ranier had me transferred
for, is it?"

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Sat Mar 30 13:25:18 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW  Ch 2 Part 2
Date: 30 Mar 1996 00:05:11 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 280
Message-ID: <4jife7$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 2: "Intelligence" Part II

      Adjan sat on the edge of the desk. "Commander Riker.  There are
three things I want you to know:  First, there's a bit of a cloud hanging
over you since the Pressman affair.  I guess that doesn't surprise you."
      Riker smiled sardonically.  "I think the last word Pressman ever
said to me was that he had friends at Starfleet Command.  I knew I wasn't
going to make anyone happy in Intelligence or Command by exposing him."
     "Well, the second thing I want you to know is that I may have my
doubts as to the advisability of certain provisions of the Algeron Treaty,
but I can respect what you did.  It took guts to stand up to Pressman
knowing he was backed all the way to Admiral Ranier, and, I guess, not a
little faith to overcome your own doubts.  There's nothing about you that
sympathizes with the Romulans, is there?"
     "With their people, perhaps, but with their government and its
policies, no sir."
      "And third . . .  maybe the admirals didn't do much objecting, but
the truth is --you were requested, specifically, for this mission by the
operative who's going back in.  And now I understand why." 
      If Riker swallowed any of the butter Adjan was slathering on, it
didn't show. "There's something I would like to understand, Captain.  Why
are the Romulans looking for this missing dispatch at all?  Why wouldn't
they assume that the agent managed to pass it on somehow? Why don't they
believe that we have it?
      "Commander, it's hard for me to believe that THEY don't have it. 
There was no way for our agent to have transferred that ILOC to other
hands.  From D'Klat to Draemos, the Suari ship made no stops, no
rendezvous with other vessels.  The Romulans boarded her at Draemos before
anyone had disembarked. The transporter log indicated that nothing was
beamed off.  The ILOC should have been on that vessel somewhere, but it
      "You mean they couldn't find it there."
      "Our agents reported that they searched very thoroughly."
      "Well, it's got to be more than just a communique, then.  I mean,
you lose an ordinary dispatch, you just send it again. You don't bother to
look for the copy that's gone missing.  Do we know whose information is on
that ILOC actually?"
       "Commander, I think we have to play it as though it's ours even if
it turns out to be rightfully theirs.  The rumor that our team was chasing
is that the Romulans have developed some new stealth technology and are
planning a terrorist attack in the very near future --at exactly the time
when we're getting ready to finish a brand new Starbase near their borders
that they protested five years ago when the plans first went in and have
been screaming about ever since."
       Riker's expression was neutral.
      "I know," Adjan said.  "There are those who'd say we provoked this, 
and what's on that ILOC may be nothing to do with us.  It may be something
internal that they don't want us to know, that would weaken their position
if they do decide to renegotiate our truce. I'd be lying if I told you
that I don't find the whole thing --funny, I mean, not-quite-right funny. 
But whatever is on the chip, Commander, it was worth the life of one of
our best intelligence officers.  And if they want it that bad, so do we."
      "Does anyone know where this ILOC  is?"
      "The agent in command of this mission claims to be able to find it."
 Adjan  showed little confidence in the statement.  "We'll give it a shot.
 But, Mr. Riker, you're a poker player, I'm told?  Then you understand the
concept of the bluff.  Find the ILOC if you can, but if you can't, your
orders are to draw their fire.  If you can attract the enemy's attention
and run, make them think you've recovered the item, it will be as good as
if you did.  If the chip really did contain a sabotage plan, the Romulans
will have to abandon it on the chance that we'll know all about it.  If
it's internal, maybe it'll be just the thing that brings them to the
      "Unless, of course they shoot us dead.  In which case --they won't
have to worry about either possibility."

      As Adjan's doors hissed closed behind him, Riker considered his new
commanding officer and decided that he wasn't much more than a puppet of
Ranier's.  Adjan knew what he'd ordered Riker to do:  storm a phaser
battery with pocket knives. It was the worst kind of cloak-and-dagger
nonsense Riker had ever heard of --and pretty bad poker, too.  The concept
of the bluff was to intimidate your opponent so he wouldn't challenge your
losing hand.  Dangling yourself in front of the Romulans was the losingest
hand he could imagine, and he suspected that Adjan knew it, too.
 Riker more than suspected that there was a political dimension to this
mission.   If Ranier had okayed the original fiasco, she had a big
interest in proving the objective at least had been correct --even if it
meant sending another team back into what was an even surer disaster.  
Christopher seemed to think that his I-told-you-so would be another item
on his resume.  Adjan was clearly unhappy about the orders he had given. 
He seemed to agree with Ranier that the Romulans bore watching, but he
felt, like Christopher, that this mission was wrong.   It brought back
unwelcome memories of his own position in the Pegasus affair.
      Riker walked away from Adjan's door thinking about the Pegasus
debacle and how he'd finally decided that Picard represented the honor and
the loyalty that he aspired to.  The only time he remembered the Captain
ever being really angry with him was when he'd refused to discuss the
mission with Picard, denying him the information he needed to ascertain
the risk to the Enterprise. That had been Riker's touchstone, finally: 
the good of the ship.  But where was the "ship" in this mission?
      As to the operational details, Riker was supposed to  receive his
briefing from the operative he was to assist, the somebody who thought he
might know where the dead agent had secreted the ILOC.  Mr. Somebody was
due in shortly.  Meanwhile, the commander was supposed to get some rest
--as though he should put his feet up and wait till the appropriate time
to begin this suicide.
      All this tumbled through his mind as he followed, with
self-contained disquiet, a little quark of quartermaster, whom he
threatened to step on with each preoccupied stride.
      "Right here, Commander.  I hope you'll be comfortable.  I suppose I
don't have to remind you that we're not a galaxy class starship."
 Riker tried to find something polite to say, but courtesy was so far
under the heap of his other feelings that he could manage only a simple
"thank-you."   Entering the room, he stopped immediately over the
threshold, turned to nod a curt good-bye at the quartermaster still in the
 hallway, and closed the door on the three round O's formed by the
startled man's eyes and mouth.  Still facing the door, Riker dropped the
duffel he'd been carrying, grit his teeth and did a fair imitation of the
Klingon growl Worf would have used had he been there.
      A slight sound and a sudden shift of the lamp light behind him made
him wheel around suddenly.  Someone who had been lounging on the sofa in
the semi-darkened room had straightened up and was regarding him from the
shadowy interior.
      Wonderful!  They had either given him the wrong quarters or space
was so tight that they'd quartered him with another officer. All right, he
was too irritated right now to explain it in a way that wouldn't offend
and too tired to deal with the unpleasantness of lodging a complaint with
the quartermaster ...
      "Excuse me -- " he began, and then the figure stepped into the
     "Hiya, Righteous," she said.  "Don't bother to unpack. We're leaving
     He looked so different.  And she needed to know if he were different.
 So much time had passed.  She needed to know that some things were still
the same.  There were things she had to depend upon.  
      He wasn't helping.  Beyond his "Hello, Lara" which had made a sound
something like a bad actor's "Ah, ha!" he had spoken only what was
required to co-pilot their shuttlecraft, the Danzig, away from the Stark. 
It was going to be a long trip to Draemos.
      They were clear of the starship, and their course had been plotted
and laid in.  There was nothing to do, but he still stared at the console.
      "Well, Commander Righteous, you've done very well for yourself since
I last saw you," she said conversationally.  "Of course, only the deep
space teams wouldn't have heard about you in all that time... The
Enterprise is --or at least, was --the most famous ship in the fleet." 
      "You look well.  The beard is . . . interesting."
      He got up to stow properly the duffel he had thrown into a corner
upon entering the craft.
       She wondered suddenly whether he might still be carrying some
emotional baggage from the Hood.  There had been a month of unspoken
tension between them before she'd finished the upgrade on the Hood and
moved on, leaving some other things notably unfinished. 
      "Don't get too comfortable. We're changing ships at Hvringen.  I got
us a yacht.  We're swapping the Danzig here with a smuggler friend of
mine, and since that's our cover, free-lance merchants, so to speak, it
really worked out conveniently.  Lousy name on the yacht though,
"Phaethon," don't you think?  Oh, I forgot, you're not literary, are you,
Will?  Anyway, she handles beautifully, and she'll make Warp 7."
      He was suddenly right in front of her, looking down at her.
      "Lara,  you have any idea what you're doing?"
      All right.  She might have known it was strictly the mission and not
the personal history.  Might as well fight it out now.
     "Yes, Will, I have an excellent idea what I'm doing.  I am serving a
cause, our cause.  I am trying to prevent the success of a treacherous,
devious race who never cease to plot the death of the Federation "
      "Death of the Federation!" he snorted.  "You people in intelligence
really live in the land of make-believe.  Lara, you once claimed you knew
something about Romulan psychology --"
       "I do --"
      "And you bought this story?  Do you want to know what I think?"
 Now that he had decided to speak, she was going to get an earful.
      "I think this whole set of pranks doesn't help secure the sector, it
de-stabilizes it.  Lara, the most prudent thing to do now is to stay the
hell away from Draemos. The Romulans already can't be sure what we have or
don't have  -- or what we know or don't know.  If there's some plot, they
won't risk it. We're risking a lot more by going there."
      "Staying home and hiding under the bed might be the best idea if you
believe that the only thing on that chip is a half-hatched dirty-tricks
      "Oh yes!  I forgot.  The Romulans have developed a new stealth
technology.  Right!  That's what's supposed to be on the ILOC.  That's
another reason I think your division is in left field.  You should know
that the Romulans don't invent and create. Their whole style has always
been steal it and twist it.  Come on, Lara,  the Klingons joke that they
even pirated their cloaking device!  Except for the Algeron treaty, we
could have put interphase technology on line twelve years ago.  Their last
major effort at it was a dismal failure.  I know.  I saw it.  And
according to Intelligence reports -- your own information -- the cost of
the project nearly broke their economy.  Your agents don't even listen to
one another! And yet, instead of setting up something careful, long-term
and accurate, you let somebody get killed in what amounts to a purse
      The last comment cut a little close.  "The operation was discussed
and okayed at the admiralty level," she shot back at him.  "It was
developed by people who worked with one another and trusted one another
and cared about one another.  There was real evidence behind it.  It was a
proper, necessary and valuable operation. Just like our mission."
      "You used to lie better than that, Lara."
     "It's no lie."
      "Then you used to be smarter."
      "Oh, get off your high horse, Will Riker!  What if our intelligence
team was following intuition, a little ahead of the facts?  You want to
pretend that you've always been calculating and deliberate,  you've never
taken a flier?  Where's the man who told me that the best officers follow
their hunches?  It's not this Will Riker.  I guess that working aboard the
flagship has really tamed you.  You used to have a taste for action.  You
used to be bolder than that."
      "What is this?  Grade school? I think they used to say things like
'Chicken' and that was supposed to mean you were a coward if you didn't
take the dare.  Well, dares may be hard to come by nowadays, but believe
it or not, even on the flagship, -- hell!  ESPECIALLY on the flagship --
there were hundreds of risks to take!  But the risks were always FOR
something, Lara!  And I could choose  to take a risk if it was worth it. 
And when I look back on the ones I chose to take, I know I don't have to
prove a thing to you or to myself."
      "Fine.  You have nothing to prove.  What I have to prove will be
there when we find the chip."
      "You really intend to look?"
      "The Romulans are looking."
      Riker was quiet a moment, intensely quiet.  "All right then, Lara."
He leaned over to look her in the face.  "You're the intelligence officer.
 You tell me: why turn a place upside down for information on a stealth
technology you're bound to have a copy of?"
      "To make sure that nobody else has it."
      "So why are they so sure we don't already?  How can they be so sure
it didn't get off the station?" 
      She didn't answer.
      "Or how about this one:  why me, Lara?  Why me after so long?  Why
not somebody in Intelligence?"
      She didn't answer.
      "You have a leak somewhere, don't you, Lara?  Somebody's passing
information to the Romulans."
      She didn't answer.
      "Yeah," his voice was quiet with cold fury, "when I worked on the
flagship, I could choose to take a risk, but I don't get a choice here. 
I'm ordered to cover your back, and I'll do it, but I don't have to like
the reasons or the circumstances."
      "If you think I like risking my neck to recover this stuff, Mr.
Riker you're wrong!  I'm no thrill seeker.  That  ILOC is going to have
something important on it.  The people who went out there knew, they KNEW
the Romulans are up to something!" 
      Riker looked at her with sudden insight.  "Nicky planned this,
didn't he?  We're working for him!  It was Nicky who came up with this
plot wasn't it?" 
 Kirov concentrated on the controls although there was nothing to do,
nothing different in the read-outs to note.
      "I should have known it!" Riker stormed.  "This is just the sort of
adventure that Nicholas Kirov, wunderkind of the Intelligence Wing, would
cook up for some poor fools to run for him.  I swear, Lara, the next time
I see him --"  Riker had forgotten he could feel this angry.  It wasn't
just because of his position in this mess either; it was everyone else
whom Nicky's schemes involved --that poor damned dead agent!  -- "and you,
Lara!  I'd be happy to throttle him for the way he's always used you
except that I'd probably want to strangle you second for letting it
happen!"   His voice was acid.  "Always so willing to go along with big
brother.  Nicky is full of grand plans, but somehow Lara always gets left
holding the bag, picking up the pieces."
      She turned suddenly on him with a monstrous look. "That's right!" 
Her voice rasped and her eyes were liquid with an emotion beyond pain and
anger.  "Yes, Will, you're right, absolutely!  I got to pick up the
     His face fell, and he stared at her with the horrified realization of
the literal value of his own words.  It had not till now dawned on him. 
He had not imagined that a tactician like Nicky, who delighted in these
elaborate and dangerous games, might decide to become a player again
himself.  He knew how Romulans dispatched spies.  He realized sickly that
she had collected the body -- the shattered pieces of all of Commander
Nicholas Kirov's grand plans that had ended forever in the Suari transfer
yard at Draemos.
      She had turned back to the helm, fighting for control, when she felt
his hands on her shoulders, turning her around.  And there was such sorrow
and regret and compassion in his face that she hated him.  She hated him
like she hated everything else that was still alive.  She shook herself
loose and drew a hand back as though she would slap him.  Still, he drew
her closer to hold her.
      "Go ahead," he said gently, tilting his face toward her. "Do it if
you need to.  Maybe we both need it."
      Yet it was not her open hand but rather her hot tears that fell on
his cheek.

m!not-for-mail Sat Mar 30 23:27:23 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch 3 Part 1
Date: 30 Mar 1996 22:47:26 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 249
Message-ID: <4jkv8e$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 3: "Crossed Cultures" Part I

      The sound of water--trickling down a little pyramid of dark,
striated rocks. They were smooth rocks that had been pulled from the
oceans of Betazed, rocks rounded by eons of waves turning them over and
over against the sand, grinding away the edges, removing the outer layers,
striving toward the inner core--
       --there was a crick in his neck.  He pulled his shoulders back and
continued to concentrate.... 
       ...the sound of the water, beginning at an opening in the top of
the pyramid where it bubbled forth energetically and flowed over the top
stones sending up little wisps of vapor.  The upper rocks were always wet
and lustrous, but further down the pyramid, the water broke into separate
rivulets,  like tears trickling down cheeks of black jasper.  And still
further down, by some careful arrangement of the pieces, the separate
streams converged on the underside of a ledge rock and fell drop by drop
into a tiny grotto, the reservoir from which the water would be drawn
through the cycle again-- vapor and tears and streams and drops and--
       --his neck still hurt, and now he had an uncontrollable urge to rub
his eyes.  He did.  And then he stretched his shoulders back.  And then
his eyes itched again.  And then Lieutenant Commander Worf threw up his
hands and surrendered. 
       This was not his ritual, this thing of water on stones that the
Counselor had suggested.   He had given an honest try, but it was only
honest, also, to admit that this wasn't going to work for him.  There was
just no chord in him that responded.
      He understood the fountain intellectually.  He appreciated the care
in her offering it to him, but he had always looked to his own heritage in
times when his heart needed strengthening.  Where else but in the roots
and traditions of the Klingons could he hope to discover himself?  
       He had been studying and meditating in earnest for the past three
years.  He had experienced a spiritual awakening through the ancient
rituals of his people, but those were rituals of fire and blood. 
Meditations on fire brought religious ecstasy, the fervent visions of
self-enlightenment and prophecy.  
       Water?  Well, it had sounded like a plausible opposite: water for
the calming of the spirit, for healing, for release.   If fire were
passion, then water might be peace.  But instead, it was a contradiction
of his soul.  For him, the water did not bring solace or enlightenment. 
As a matter of fact, all that drip, drip, drip was downright annoying.
       Worf grunted and got up from his position on the floor.  His
muscles were stiff and achy from sitting so long.  He would have to get
some exercise tonight so as to be fresh for duty tomorrow
morning--whatever duty he could think up.  But first--
       "Hello, father!"  Alexander was back, shouting from the outer
living area of their temporary quarters on the Starbase.  Worf listened to
the stomp of his ten-year-old son's arrival from school. "I'm hungry. 
Let's eat!"
       --but first dinner.
       Worf emerged from the dimly lit bedroom.  Alexander bounded up and
gave him a quick hug in passing before flinging open the cabinets where
the stewards had placed a bunch of borrowed dinnerware--Terran, not
Klingon.  Worf huffed and stretched again. 
       "Were you sleeping?" the boy asked.
       "No." Worf replied.  "Meditating."
 Alexander began to set the table without having to be reminded, Worf
noted.  As a matter of fact, Alexander had seemed more dutiful during the
last few weeks than even those times when he was trying to butter his
father up for some new privilege or to gain leniency for a transgression
that Worf was sure to find out about sooner or later.  This time, no bribe
or penance seemed to be involved.  Alexander had become, for no obvious
motive,  more responsible in his chores at home.  Indeed, their sudden
change of circumstance, which had thrown the parent off balance, appeared
to have affected the child in the opposite way.  Alexander was the
steadying influence nowadays.  He even seemed more involved in his
studies.  He was attending the "Starbase-Enterprise Academy," the school
that had been started up as a joint venture between the Starbase's
newly-arriving resident faculty and the orphaned teaching staff of the
        At the replicator, Worf keyed in a menu.  He had had to dig up
some old files from his personal database in order to program the
Starbase's replicator system for Klingon food.  There were so many little
details that made life more stressful, details he had taken for granted on
the Enterprise.  Perhaps this whole business was for the best.  Perhaps
life aboard the Enterprise had made him a little soft.  For instance, he'd
been about to compliment Alexander, just for doing a chore he was expected
to do.  Casual encouragements were not Klingon.  But maybe he should say
something to Alexander.  He could say that he was proud to see his son
developing the inner fortitude to face adversity.  That was the proper
attitude of a warrior-- 
       "What is this --?" Worf had nearly tripped over a bundle that lay
on the floor beside one of chairs, suggesting that Alexander had thrown it
there and, when it had fallen off, not bothered to pick it up.
       "No!  Don't touch that!"  The boy ran to intercept Worf and took
the sack away.  "It's my costume for tonight.  I want to surprise you."
       "You didn't forget?  We're presenting the program tonight!  For
school.  You know, the cultural arts program?"
       He had  forgotten only momentarily.  How could he have forgotten at
all?  For nearly a week, Alexander had been coming home full of some big
secret that was his part of the presentation.  Every night Worf had gotten
updates of the progress:  "It's really coming along great" or "We worked
on a terrific idea to punch up the effect,"  which said nothing about what
his son was actually going to do.  Always the last comment was: "You're
gonna love it, Father!"  Perhaps, Worf thought, there was a clue as to why
the big production had temporarily escaped his memory.
       "Father, is Counselor Troi coming for dinner?  Or just the
       That could be the other reason for the faulty memory.
       "We will meet the counselor there," Worf told him.  
       The boy was disappointed.  He put back the extra dish.
       "I did not ask Counselor Troi to join us at dinner," Worf said from
the replicator.  He brought a platter of steaming Tilak rat to the table. 
 "You must understand, Alexander.  Counselor Troi is much occupied these
weeks.  Many people in the crew need her. And she needs time too, to rest
and to be away from the thoughts and feelings of others. I am sure she
would like to be with you--and me.  However, it would not be right to ask
her to forgo all those needs for us when we are doing--satisfactorily." 
He was in full Klingon patriarch mode now.   "Aside from his honor, a
Klingon's needs are simple:  shelter, food.... "
       The boy looked at the dish and glanced guiltily at his father.  "I
was just thinking that it might be nice to have something Betazoid for
dinner."  He brightened with another idea.  "Think she'd have time to go
out for ice cream after the program?"
       Worf eyed him sharply, but he nodded.  "I will ask.  Now eat."  He
skewered a piece of meat and put it on his son's plate before taking his
own portion.   "You are fond of Counselor Troi?"
       "Oh yeah, she's tops," he replied, reaching for the condiments he
had set on the table.  He poured on a generous helping of ketchup. 
"Lwaxana's even better.  Is she really Counselor Troi's mother?"
       Worf chewed, considering his reply.  "It is tempting to consider
that she may have been adopted,"  he said.

       "When are you coming home?" 
       "Mother," she sighed, "I can't come home right now."   Deanna
shifted uncomfortably in front of the viewer.  In contrast to the evening
hour on Starbase 191, it looked like morning on Betazed.  There in the
viewscreen was sunshine on the patio where her mother was sitting, and
behind Lwaxana, Deanna glimpsed their huge rudekia bush in bloom with its
extravagant pink blossoms.   
        The Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Riix, Heir to the Holy Rings
of Betazed, arched an eyebrow as she set down the familiar teapot that
always accompanied her leisurely breakfasts over correspondence. "I should
think that right now is the perfect time to come home. Your duties to the
Enterprise are over.  It's time to consider other duties that have been
put off long enough."
       "My duties... Mother, isn't a duty a service owed in obligation to
another?" She hurried on before Lwaxana had a chance to reply. "I
recognize my obligations to Betazoid society.  But wouldn't Betazed be
honored more by my work in caring for others than in my holding the Sacred
Chalice Commemorative every year?"
 "I see.  I suppose the work that I do seems trivial and insignificant to
you," Lwaxana said airily, "but there are important functions for custom
and tradition in any society. And there are duties one owes to oneself and
one's family even if one is a member of your Great, Grand Endeavor to the
       Deanna sighed inwardly. Her mother was a master of indignation,
achieving just the right balance between hurt and pique.  The Counselor
reached for her already depleted stock of patience.
       "I have never felt that the Enterprise's mission was the 'Great,
Grand Endeavor to the Galaxy.'   But mother, I can't just pick up and go. 
This is a very difficult time for everyone.  If anything, my duties are
more important now than ever.  The captain needs me--the crew need me."
       "Has it occurred to you that I need you, Little One?" 
      It was said so plainly, without pretense, Deanna backed up a moment.
       "Mother, is there something wrong?  Are you all right?  You're not
ill or anything?" Deanna asked, alarmed.
       Lwaxana looked back in surprise.  "Ill?  What are you talking
about? Of course not!"  Lwaxana peered intently at the screen as though
she were trying to read her daughter from several million light years'
distance.   "My dear, I am trying to point out that your focus has become
rather narrow -- shall we say, about the size of a starship?  Needs
change, Deanna, situations change.  You can't expect them not to."  
Lwaxana fussed with the tea things in front of her. "I, for one, certainly
don't expect to go on and on like this forever."
       "Oh, mother!"  Deanna cried.  "We're not going to talk about
your... " She found she couldn't say it, not after all the loss, the
mourning, the grieving.
       Lwaxana frowned in annoyance.  "Deanna, aren't you listening to me
at all?  I realize it is difficult over a commlink to establish any
empathic sense, but really!  I'm talking about your life, not mine!  I am
not the one in need of reflection and reevaluation. I am not the one who
has just fallen out of the sky and been almost reduced to another piece of
rubble in the middle of some uninhabited jungle!"
       "But I'm fine, mother," (except, of course for the roller coaster
ride that conversations with her mother inevitably became). "I'm perfectly
safe here on the Starbase, and I have a job to do."
       "There is no reason why you can't do what you do at home.  Frankly,
there are some very good reasons for you to work here on Betazed, not the
least of which is that you could do some work truly worthy of you. 
Jean-Luc Picard is not the only diplomat who can use an advisor or train a
protege.  I have not worked this hard as a stateswoman to see all of my
influence disappear the moment I do.   And I intend to see that the Holy
Rings are not the only inheritance I pass down to you from the powers that
be.  Deanna, as an ambassador yourself, or an arbiter, you could employ
your skills to benefit thousands -- millions of people--and about things
of cosmic importance--not just the particular few individuals you help get
over their sticky little divorce or survive their child-rearing dilemmas. 
I mean, how can you compare that sort of trivia to the work you could do
with me?"
       "All work for the common good is important, Mother.  You can't say
that one job is ultimately more valuable than another because it appears
to have wider impact.  That thinking is just wrong.  The cosmos is people.
Helping individuals is helping cosmically."
       "Then help the cosmos a little by helping yourself for once!  Come
home," Lwaxana pleaded.  "Help me --and let me give you whatever I can to
help you along in your career, since that is what you have chosen.  After
all, what do people have children for in the first place?"
      In the silence, Deanna became aware of the whisper of birds behind
Lwaxana, and she imagined the whole scene around the little rectangle of
the viewscreen: the antique tiled table that had always stood on the
blue-green flagstones of their patio, the terraced rock garden, filled at
this time of year, Deanna supposed, with banks of flowers, in purple and
rose and white, the colors she and her mother had always chosen for
spring. She could hear the trickle of water into the lily pond where
Deanna Lydia Troi and Ian Andrew Troi had so long ago sailed tiny stick
boats and talked about matters of great importance to little girls and
their fathers.
       "When I asked Father that question," she replied at last, "he told
me that people had children because there was so much love between them
that two were not enough to share it all," 
       Lwaxana smiled fondly at her daughter.  "Deanna, don't you see that
it's a small matter to me whether you ever hold the Sacred Chalice or
exercise the Rites of the Holy Rings?   But it is MY most important
endeavor to the galaxy that you should continue for me and for your
       In spite of being touched by the genuine expression of her mother's
love, a little temblor passed through Deanna's mind. "Mother, this whole
business about my coming home to help with the ambassadorial office,"
Deanna looked shrewdly at Lwaxana through the screen, "isn't just another
effort to find me a husband, is it?"  
       "No!  Of course not. But it wouldn't hurt if you were to meet a few
eligible mates through diplomatic channels, would it?"
       "I don't need to meet any more men," she said sternly.
       "Fine! Wonderful news!" Lwaxana replied flippantly. "When can I
meet him?"
       "Meet whom?"
       "The man who's made it unnecessary for you to meet any more men. 
Will you be bringing him home?" 
       Deanna wasn't sure what her response looked like, but Lwaxana
nearly did a double take and her expression opened in surprise. 
       "There IS someone.  Deanna!  Darling--!"
       "Mother--" Deanna hesitated.  "I can't come yet.  Maybe in a week
or two.  I'll think about it."
       Lwaxana eyes held on even as her daughter's wavered.  She seemed
about to press, but for once, she retreated, as if her intense interest
might frighten away some rare bird.  "All right, Little One... but please,
don't think.  Do it."

m!not-for-mail Sat Mar 30 23:27:27 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch 3 Part 2
Date: 30 Mar 1996 22:47:42 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 350
Message-ID: <4jkv8u$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 3 "Crossed Cultures"  Part II

       Worf spotted Deanna waiting for them at the door of the auditorium.
 She was chatting with the admiral's assistant, Captain Adjan, so he
availed himself of the opportunity to observe her unnoticed.  Yes, she
seemed subdued, or perhaps she was just tired.  But when she saw Worf and
Alexander, she excused herself to Adjan, who took leave of her 
(reluctantly, Worf thought) and as Alexander rushed up to her, she greeted
him gaily.  She gave him a big kiss, telling him to "break a leg" before
she scooted him off backstage with his mysterious bundle.
       "I know you're going to like this," she said, taking Worf's arm as
they entered the auditorium, already filling up with the parents of the
joint Starbase-Enterprise Academy.  Apparently Deanna knew more about
Alexander's part than Worf did.
       They had just seated themselves in the middle of the audience when
Deanna glanced backward at a little ruffle of noise.  The captain had
arrived with Dr. Crusher, and the two of them were making their way down
the aisle greeting the officers and other crew members who had turned out
in support of the new school.  
       The captain was in uniform, but Beverly had chosen to wear off-duty
clothes, a russet brown dress with a V-neck and an inverted V-cut front
hem.  Fashion did not concern Worf, but being out of uniform was something
he noticed, and the doctor had lately appeared more often in civilian
dress than he ever remembered. 
       "I didn't expect to see you here," Deanna greeted Beverly. 
"Checking out the competition?" It was a reference to Beverly's direction
of the amateur theatrical group on the Enterprise.
       "Collaborating," Beverly told her.  "I helped the lead teacher,
Ariel Vuork, with the set design."  
        Worf rose to greet the captain who gave one of his patented short
smiles.  He was undoubtedly less than thrilled to be dragged out here.
        "Worf, you're going to just love Alexander's presentation!"
Beverly cooed.
 Picard came to life with a keen look like he'd just remembered some
extremely salient fact.  "Ah yes, Mr. Worf, I understand that your son
will be performing a --"
       Beverly nudged him with her elbow.  "It's a surprise."
       Picard looked slightly startled.  "Ah, yes --"  The short smile
      Worf nodded, a strained acknowledgement of the attention or best
wishes or whatever it was in the captain's expression, and he and Deanna
sat again as Beverly led Picard to seats down front, pausing here and
there as other members of the crew acknowledged the presence of their
commanding officer. 
       It was plain to see that Picard had never become inured to the
deference.  The captain of any ship was perforce the parental figure for
the whole crew, and as much as Picard had tried to hand that role off to
Riker, it had nonetheless refused to shift.  Picard had gotten much better
at playing the part over the years  he had commanded the Enterprise, but
at heart, Worf could see, the honing of his skills had not changed his
feelings about having to use them. He didn't want the role of
father-surrogate.  Picard was a true explorer, an individualist.  He was
the leader because the vanguard was his natural place, and he probably
would have been perfectly happy if not even a single other person followed
him.  However, seeing the doctor with him, one could get the impression
that he might just allow for the possibility of  companionship. They
seemed rather more than friendly the other night. . . 
        What an awkward  interview that had been! --and then having to see
Riker!   At least the first officer had been as reluctant to prolong the
discussion as Worf was.  Riker had just nodded stiffly when told that Worf
would postpone his trip in order to settle some personal business. It was
only later that Worf began to wonder if Riker had understood his problem 
any better than Picard. 
       Finally the lights in the auditorium dimmed and the dark settled
around the audience.  The first group took the stage presenting a series
of songs, with accompanying narration, for the holidays peculiar to the
Mars colony.  Then came a skit about Bolian contributions to the world of
textile fashion.  The third presentation was a solo reading of the
preamble of the Vulcan Articles.  Worf's attention began to drift.   
       He watched the light from the stage play on Deanna's face.  How
beautiful she was!  And how sensitive and responsive to everything around
her!  Of course, being an empath, she was probably aware of much more than
he could perceive.  It must be hard for her.  It was hard for him--hard to
get used to the idea that she might be sensing far more than you wanted to
       He recalled that when they had last gotten together, he had spoken
about going home.  He had not come right out with it and asked her to
accompany him back to the homeworld, though it was in his mind.  He
thought perhaps the best way to approach it would be to mention it
generally and see how she reacted.  He acknowledged to himself that it was
a sideways sort of overture, but she must certainly know what he meant. 
She had been thoughtful, non-committal.  She had not given him the kind of
encouragement he was looking for --if, indeed, it WAS encouragement he was
looking for. He told himself that the invitation didn't necessarily mean
what it used to in the old days. 
       But perhaps he was unsure whether he really wanted to take this
step now.  And if that were the case, and if she could sense his
ambivalence, then perhaps she had responded coolly so as not to pressure
on him.  In which case, perhaps he should have been more enthusiastic and
bluntly asked her to go.  
       But then, would she have sensed a contrast between his words and 
his attitude?  Or would his direct invitation have pressured her to say
yes whether she truly wanted to or not--?   
       Blast!  He shifted in his seat irritably.  The whole thing was
becoming more complicated than those holodeck mystery novels that the
captain used to fool with!    
       The Vulcan Articles were over.  The stage lights dimmed to violet. 
Music crept in, a dark, moody theme played on the cha'sug, the deep bass
stringed Klingon instrument.  Worf straightened up with renewed attention,
recognizing the theme from an old standard of Klingon opera. This must be
Alexander's part. 
       Deanna seemed to come out of her reverie. The corners of her mouth
curved. Worf directed his eyes forward.
       An off-stage voice announced, "The Klingon Studies Group is pleased
to present for your enjoyment--Excalibur, an original ballet--"
       BALLET?!  Worf turned slowly toward Deanna, frozen by the word. 
She was smiling at him.  Yes, this is Alexander's part.
       Worf grabbed his padd and accessed the file for the Starbase
Academy's Cultural Arts presentation.  Ballet?  His son in a ballet?  It
wasn't possible!  
       The program for the evening appeared on his padd:  
       "Excalibur, an original ballet, 
       "presented by the Klingon Studies Group.
       "danced by Alexander, of the House of Mogh, 
       "with Jared Stone, Phamo Solan and Rieses Ak'lan" --!  
       Worf nearly choked.  And then he read the last part:
       "Dedicated to K'Ehleyr."
       Worf looked up, stricken.  The smile had dissolved from Deanna's
face to be replaced there by a question.  
       But it would remain unaddressed as the music rose, and the set for
the dance revolved into place:  a massive rock into which a Klingon
batlh'etlh had been fixed.   And then, Alexander appeared on the stage.
       He was dressed as a Klingon warrior except that the leathers were
far more supple and less protective than true martial dress. The metal
studding, too, was smoother and more subdued. 
       The cha'sug sounded. With grace and energy, Alexander, son of Worf
of the House of Mogh, danced out and leaped onto the rock with a flourish
in which Worf recognized a traditional gesture of battle challenge, and
the ballet began. 
       The narrative underlying the dance was not Klingon.  It was a
Terran folk-tale,  "The Sword in the Stone," the story of how the young
King Arthur of Britain claimed his throne by withdrawing the enchanted
sword Excalibur from its encasement in a rock.  The music and the style of
the dance, however, were thoroughly Klingon, which Terran audiences would
have appreciated as more like Kabuki  drama than Swan Lake.   Worf could
limn out combinations in the choreography that came from the Klingon
tai-chi, which he had been teaching on the Enterprise for years. 
Alexander had balked and whined about attending those classes, though he
had obviously learned a great deal from them.  But how had he conceived
them as a dance?  And when had he perfected the moves to the precision he
now displayed?
       Worf watched as the dance unfolded.  The other boys came on,
portraying the lord knights of Britain, and each attempted to lift the
batlh'etlh from its stone.  Not one was able.  Next, the young Arthur
approached.  They attempted to prevent his trial of the heroic feat, but
he fought them away. Then mounting the stone once again, he drew the
weapon easily. It gleamed golden-red against the violet backdrop, the
classic weapon held aloft in splendor not so much from the stage lights as
from the pride that shone in the face of the king-to-be.  
       Once again the lesser knights challenged the chosen one.  Worf
enthused at the succession of classical batlh'etlh stances and
presentations as the other boys fell back from the onslaught of the young
Klingon King Arthur.
       Worf turned to share his pleasure with Deanna and found her sitting
back in her chair and cringing slightly as the golden weapon made close
passes over the bodies of Alexander's dance partners.  She didn't
       "The color of the blade indicates a ceremonial weapon," he
explained.  "The edge has been dulled."
       Deanna nodded an acknowledgement of the commentary, but she didn't
look like the information had brought much ease to her mind.
       Worf shrugged and turned back to the performance.  There was no
need to worry.  The action was nothing like real combat or even serious
practice.  Alexander was moving with ceremonial slowness.  The worst that
could happen was a scratch or bruise, or perhaps if you were really inept,
you could put somebody's eye out, but that wasn't going to happen here;
Alexander's mastery of the weapon was beautiful to behold.  When had he
gotten in the practice, and who had taught him that Konslagh twist?
       The ballet ended with triumphal music as the subdued knights knelt
to pay homage to their new king.  Applause surrounded them.  Worf felt a
Klingon howl surging within his chest, wanting to escape his lips. 
Clapping seemed so insipid, but he observed the local decorum and put his
big hands together over and over again--even a bit after the rest of the
audience had quieted for the next act.

       After the finale, Ariel Vuork stood backstage surrounded by the
Klingon Studies Group, who boisterously celebrated the success of their
ballet's debut.  Her praise and congratulations mixed with their own
       "Take that!" Jared made a mock thrust at Alexander. "My DuQ upon
       "Yeah, well I ducked your DuQ, you turkey," Alexander laughed,
dodging Jared's sword.
       "You qoH!  I nearly tripped over your cape when we came around the
rock the first time!" 
       "If I was a real Klingon I'd have to kill you for that!"
       "I'd have killed you already for putting a foot mark on my cape!"
       "Enough!" Ms. Vuork exclaimed. "It was wonderful, guys, but it's
       "So, how do you think your dad liked it?" Jared asked Alexander.
 Alexander's eyes grew round with merriment.
       "I don't know why you didn't ask him to help out," Jared said.  "He
could have provided some really good advice --" 
       "Here's my father, now," Alexander announced, looking down the
       At the approach of parents, Ariel drew herself in.  Natural and
easy as she was around preadolescent boys and girls, even those children
of rambunctious races like the Klingons, dealing with other adults was
somehow trickier for her.   She was playful and adventurous and in spirit,
a lot like her charges.  She even appreciated their odd sense of humor. 
But adults often expected teachers to be dull, dry academicians. Everyone
must have had one of those in his school career, but why did everyone
remember that one and make him or her the standard?  She felt especially
oppressed by the stereotype since she was half Vulcan and people tended to
see that side instead of the half that was Terran.  She put on her
teacher-face and got ready to be daunted by people's prejudgment.
       The man who approached was daunting, even given her familiarity
with Klingons.  He wore the gold uniform of a Starfleet security officer,
but across his broad chest there hung a ceremonial sash with the
decorations of both the Imperial government and the Federation.  His long
hair was pulled back and his face was composed with the proud,
self-assured countenance that often, when Klingons mixed with other races,
reduced itself to a bullying arrogance.  This man, however, wore his honor
with supreme grace. She thought him incredibly handsome.
       "Father!" Alexander called out.  "Over here!  Oh, this is my
teacher, Ms. Vuork."
       "QaleghneS, Worf," she said, "Tay Danad'a?"
       "You speak Klingon," he observed.
       "Not really well," she responded, "But, if I got it right, I AM
honored to see you here tonight."
       "Ms. Vuork, it is I who am honored.  And I do approve your
'ceremony,' though it is a liberal interpretation of Klingon culture."
       "It's not supposed to be only Klingon, father," Alexander pointed
out. "It's supposed to be only part Klingon.  Like me." Alexander was
craning his neck.  "There she is!" he said, bounding into the crowd.
       The father grimaced slightly at his son's abrupt departure. 
However, the teacher didn't fault his courtesy. Her eyes followed him with
indulgent good humor, and then she turned to the father and said with
sincerity,  "He did a wonderful job.  He taught me a lot."
       "It would seem that you taught him a great deal as well."
       She lowered her head with apparent shyness.  "One of my hobbies is
martial arts -- not just personal combat, you understand, but strategy,
history, famous campaigns, even related games like chess.  The Klingons
are such masters that I've expanded into cultural studies and, well," she
indicated the boys still in their costumes who were dashing around nearby
in mock sword play, "there are some students who have decided to accompany
me on my intellectual travels." 
       Ariel paused as, suddenly, a very pale-skinned man in a gold
Starfleet uniform stepped up to them.  He slapped Worf  on the shoulder,
his face contorted with the effort to contol his grin.  "So, were you
      Ariel had the odd notion that the man must be intoxicated.   He hung
onto the Klingon as though he needed to be propped up.  Lieutenant
Commander Worf glowered at him.
       "A  ballet!" he chuckled.  "I bet you never thought it would be a
BALLET!" The man shook his head,  blinking away tears.  It was then that
Ariel noticed his eyes were the same golden color as his uniform.
       Worf was nose to nose looking into those eyes, "WHAT'S THE MATTER
       Open-mouthed, the man backed up a step, right into Dr. Crusher.
       "Oh, Data, there you are!  Please excuse us," the doctor smiled
egregiously, grabbing the man and yanking him away.
       "Who was that?" Ariel asked. "What's he got against ballet?"
       "Never mind," Worf said.
       A surge of people went by, and she stepped a little closer and
lowered her voice. "Alexander very much wanted to do something that would
meld the cultures," Ms. Vuork said, "in honor of his parents --and
especially his mother."
       Alexander's father made no response except the slight veiling of
his eyes.
       "Ms. Vuork!" Professor Stone, Jared's father, had made his way
through the gathering to the teacher's side. "Could I see you for a
         "If you would excuse me--?"  she apologized to Worf.  
       "I'm afraid that after all I won't be able to . . ." Professor
Stone was saying as he took her aside.
         Rats! she thought as she nodded mechanically to the Professor. 
The Worfs were the parents she was really anxious to meet and first they'd
been interrupted by some weird anti-ballet moron, and then she'd stepped
over some invisible line in mentioning Worf's mate and now another parent
was droning some intelligence by the end of which the Klingons would have
disappeared.  But despite her obvious gaffe, Worf was still there when
glancing backward toward the auditorium doors,  she saw Alexander emerge
from the horde hand in hand with a young woman whom he was leading up to
        Professor Stone finished what he was saying and shook her limp and
distracted hand in his leave taking. 
        Real surprise registered on the face of the half-Vulcan teacher as
the dark-haired beauty arrived with Alexander and took the courtly
Klingon's arm.  Alexander had said that he wanted to dedicate the dance to
his mother.  But could this possibly be K'Ehleyr?   She thought the boy
had said his mother was a half-Terran, but unless Ariel was very mistaken,
this woman was a total Betazoid.  (A Betazoid who had even gone so far as
to take a Klingon name?)  Ariel, herself the product of mixed parentage,
was quite aware of the joys and difficulties of a cross-species marriage,
but a Betazoid-Klingon match was --unheard of.  
       The woman was, without a doubt, the most beautiful woman Ariel had
ever seen, petite and delicate with an exquisite face and a slim but
voluptuous body.  Women like that always made Ariel feel a little
insecure.  Most of the time, she was happy with her appearance, and she
was always glad for the greater strength and endurance her Vulcan father
had passed along to her.  But her body and face had no softness.  She had
the hard, chiseled look of a gymnast or a dancer rather than the supple
sensuousness she felt most men preferred--like the woman who stood before
her and was being introduced as--
       "Counselor Deanna Troi,  Ms. Ariel Vuork, Alexander's teacher," the
Lieutenant Commander intoned formally as he presented his companion.
       "How do you do Ms. Vuork," the Counselor smiled warmly. "It was an
impressive performance."  She was regarding the teacher curiously.
       Ariel was aware of the warmth in her face, which served to make her
even more flustered.  She wished she'd developed some other of her
father's traits:  control, telepathy.  Calm down, she told herself.  Why
are you so upset? The Counselor wouldn't be so impolite as to read your
thoughts.  She's probably just never seen a Vulcan blush.   At least
Lieutenant  Commander Worf doesn't seem to notice that you're being
incredibly silly.  The Counselor is expecting a response.  Answer her.
       "I'm sorry.  I mean, thank-you --I, uh--"
       "What's the matter?" Alexander asked, cutting right past the
ineptitude of the grown-ups.
       "Oh, Alexander," the teacher said recovering herself. "It looks
like we hit some, uh, bad luck.  Professor Stone was just telling me that
he can't chaperone the field trips we were planning."  A perfectly
plausible excuse for her distraction.  She turned to Ms. Troi and Mr.
Worf.  "I had arranged to take a couple of field trips this week , but
I've, uh, lost my pilot. I guess we'll have to cancel.  I'm sorry,
       Alexander turned to Worf.  "Couldn't you do it, Father?  You're not
doing anything now anyway." He turned back to his teacher and tried to
sound offhanded, not boastful. "My father can pilot anything. He has a
class-A rating."
       Mr. Worf frowned at his son.  "Alexander, Counselor Troi and I have
been planning--"
       "But, Father, the whole class was looking forward to it," the boy
 Ms. Vuork was reddening again.  "Alexander, I didn't mean for your father
 Ms. Troi held up a hand, "Please," she turned to Worf.  "It's perfectly
all right, Worf.  You weren't really looking forward to accompanying me to
the organizational functions.  Besides, I think Alexander deserves some
support for his new-found interest in Klingon studies. I wish I had as
good an excuse not to go to the reception for the Starbase's new commerce
       The Klingon looked from one woman to the other.  "Very well," he
       "Great!" Alexander exclaimed.
       The three adults looked at each other as though they'd made some
momentous decision.  Grown-ups were always making such a big deal out of
things that were just common sense,  Alexander thought as he listened to
them negotiate the details.   Well, now that that was settled, maybe they
could move along to some more important matters. 
        "Could we get some ice cream?" he asked.

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Sun Mar 31 17:38:45 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch4 Part 1
Date: 31 Mar 1996 17:04:53 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 269
Message-ID: <4jmvi5$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 4: "Draemos" Part I

 Draemos reminded Riker of nothing so much as a rookery on the coast of
Alaska near his hometown of Valdez where migratory seabirds returned each
spring to mate.  The nesting site was officially off limits to the human
population, but Will and his grade school cohorts, feeling a challenge in
any "No Trespassing" sign, had gone to have a look.  
 The young Riker had been amazed at the transformation of the usually
placid beach as the gulls arrived, displayed themselves, fought for
nesting places, hatched the chicks, fished for sustenance, attacked
predators, and raised their young, all accomplished in terrific chaos, all
to ensure that despite the inevitable losses, another generation would get
to perform the same frenetic ritual.
 The Suari people who called Draemos home were migratory beings of a
higher order than seagulls, but just how much higher, Riker wasn't sure. 
They had been great traders and explorers even when their level of
development had permitted only voyages upon the dark, mineral-laden oceans
of Draemos.  Since their evolution to warp technology, they had taken to
the vacuum as though it were simply another black sea.  They breezed
around the galaxy, shipping, trading, and factoring.  They returned home
to Draemos only to mate.  If the relativity of warp travel hadn't
interfered with their biological clocks, Riker figured, they all would
have shown up at Draemos in the first two weeks of spring and overwhelmed
the already overpopulated, overdeveloped, overwrought little planet.  
 Their commercial affairs exhibited the same riotous energy.  The Ferengi
were more widespread, but the Suari, where they chose to compete, often
got the contract.  Everyone traded with them, the Federation planets, the
Klingons, the Romulans, as well as dozens of small non-aligned planets and
systems.  This was partly because the other two planets of the Suar
system, the uninhabited Atvos and Vaknos, were rich in several rare
minerals.  The Suari shrewdly sold an equal ration of these minerals to
each major customer, thus insuring that each one had an interest in
protecting Draemos from the undue influence of the others.  Having no need
to build or maintain their own defensive military, their commercial
affairs prospered.  Business was booming.
 In the two days it had taken them to get to Hvringen, swap vessels, and
make course for Draemos, Riker and Kirov had managed to reestablish the
working relationship they'd had aboard the Hood--a relationship
characterized by a jocular but not-altogether unmeant needling of each
 "You said you've been to Draemos before?"  she'd asked, as they began
briefing for the mission.
 "Yeah.  The Enterprise had a mission there four years ago --a sentient
rights mediation.  At the time, there was a lot of unrest concerning the
government's population control program. The Suari run a sort of
theocracy. Society tends towards matriarchal control because of--"
 "Spare me the details. I don't need to know their literary history or
their dietary preferences.  I just meant to remind you that transit is a
little different on Draemos," she told him.  "You remember, I hope, that
the ion field around the planet makes normal transport impossible.  The
Central Station transporter is the only one with enough power and
discrimination to penetrate the field.  Even at that, for the sake of
safety, they initiate an identical annular field from the district
transport center where you arrive. In other words, you need a transporter
at the other end to reassemble you. So, we have to beam down from the main
transporter on Central Station to a district station on the surface.  Your
job is to make sure we get back to a district center for the return trip."
 Riker gave a quick thought to Nirvala IV and decided he'd prefer not to
transport through strange radiation fields.  "Listen, Lara, why don't we
just take a shuttle--"
 "Too easy to intercept."  She cut off his protest with an abrupt wave of
her hand. "We'll use their Central transporter," she said.   "Also, we'll
be assuming disguises.  Thankfully, the Suari do some heavy trading with
races that you don't need surgery to impersonate, though goodness knows
what the Suari need from the Ventaxians, Bajorans and Yoqoh."
 "They're all agrarian economies--major exporters of produce.  The Suari
eat natural.  It's a tenet of their faith, and they're very religious.  No
replicator food except for us off-worlders."
 "I don't think we'll be stopping for lunch," she said.
 "Just thought you'd like to know about their dietary preferences," he
said.  "As to their literary history--"
 "Just let me see your nose," she ordered, turning Riker's chin toward her
inspection.  "All right. Bend your head this way, and I'll put on the
 "Why did it have to be Bajoran?" he muttered between clenched teeth. 
 "I don't care for folds in my nose either," she countered, "but I figured
it was better than dying our skin green and going as Yoqoh."
   "I don't see why all this is necessary.  Plenty of Terrans put in at
Draemos.  And no one's going to pick us up on the way in.  They'll wait
till we have the goods.  And then, we have to get them to notice us
 "I don't intend to get noticed.  I intend to get that chip and get out."
 "Lara, if this chip does have something vital on it, you've considered
the danger of actually finding the thing, getting caught and having it
fall back into the Romulans' hands?  It would be better not to recover it
at all than to let that happen."
 "There is vital information on that ILOC, Will.  We have to get it.  The
danger of the Romulans recapturing it should be very small if it all works
the way I think it will."
 "So, tell me. I'm not the Intelligence leak.  Where is it?"
 "Right where Nicky put it."
 He twisted irritably out of her hands before she had gotten the earring's
chain clip fastened.
 "Lara, DO you know where it is?"
 "First of all Will, it's one chip we're looking for, but it's two we're
going to find."
 "I ask for information and you give me puzzles!  You really mean there's
 "The chip Nicky stole is in transit with another one. They're kind of
interlocking pieces."
 "That isn't what Adjan told me." 
 "Adjan doesn't know.  Nobody knows about the other chip except you and me
and my silent partners."
 "And who are they?"
 "People I can trust.  You can, too, Will."  
 "Do I have any choice?"
 "You see how cautious I've been.  If I weren't absolutely sure of them,
I'd have cut them out too.  But they're not the leak.  They're the reason
why the ILOC's got safely away to begin with."
 "All right," he surrendered.  "So, where do we have to go for these two
easy pieces?"
 "To the planet surface."
 He looked at her incredulously. "How could they possibly have gotten
there?  Unless there's a mistake the report--"
 "The report is accurate.  I know.  I wrote it."
 "Well according to your report, the freighter was docked on the Central
Station above Draemos after returning from D'Klat.  Nicky was still aboard
waiting for clearance, and the pilot was apparently running a diagnostic
on the transporter prior to coupling up to the Central system when the
Romulans showed up.  
 "Prior to the Romulans' arrival, no one came aboard the freighter, no one
left, and nothing was transported off.  So logic says that the ILOC's have
to be somewhere on the ship.  But you say they're on the planet.  How'd
they get there?"
 "There's a way."
 He waited, but it was clear she was not going to answer.
 "All right.  They're on the planet.  It's a small planet, but it's bigger
than a bread box, so I hope you have a little tighter location."
 "At the residence of Telam, the Suari pilot that Nicky hired."
 He shook his head. "Don't you think they might have looked there anyway? 
The Romulans have been interrogating this guy with telepaths."
   "Knowing Nicky," she looked away, "Telam might not be aware that he's
got them."
 Riker was tempted to agree.  Knowing Nicky, the poor Suari had probably
been used without ever being aware that he was in the thick of it.  But at
least he knew now where they were going.
 "So we're going to have to dock at the station where the Romulans have
taken a suite, transport to the planet under their noses, pick up the ILOC
or ILOC's at a residence they know about, transport back--I guess we won't
have any trouble attracting their attention."
 "Well, I'd rather not catch their eye, so there is one more precaution." 
She ducked around behind him and came up with a sonic shaver.
 "No!" he moaned. "You can't expect me to--"
 "It's too distinctive," she said. "The beard's got to go."
 Most of the Suari's dealings with outsiders were conducted at the Central
Administration Center, an impressive satellite station high above the
planet in geosynchronous orbit.  The space station was an enormous,
elegantly structured sphere, a marvel of efficient, economical design.  It
didn't seem possible that such a beautiful, almost organic construction
could belong to the same species that bawded and bred and bawled in manic
confusion below.   
  The central globe housed offices, guest quarters, cargo storage bays,
conference facilities, and the most sophisticated and discriminate
transporter system in the sector, designed and constructed by Federation
engineers.   From the core sphere projected sixty-four gracefully pointed
arms, the docking piers, making the whole station look like a starburst in
stasis, or to a Terran like Riker, the seed coat of an Ohio buckeye tree.
 The Phaethon was scheduled to dock at pier 37 on what was conventionally
designated as the station's outbound quadrant/lower hemisphere.  In that
area, the slips accommodated vessels up to 12,000 metric tonnes cargo
capacity.  The piers were configured to allow one vessel to dock on either
side of each arm.  Uniquely designed hatches coupled the cargo holds
directly to transporter arrays.   In this way, the Suaris avoided the
expense of equipping most of their freighters with transporters of their
 For maximum efficiency, about a third of the docking slips were equipped
with the quantum resolution transporters that were required to transport
intelligent life-forms,  high complexity hardware, fine arts, or anything
else requiring absolute fidelity.  The rest of the transporters operated
on molecular resolution standards which were sufficient for simple
 Kirov had obtained a permit from the Suari to dock the Phaethon for five
riks or about six hours.  The Suari had wanted to sell her a fifteen rik
permit.  Was she allowing enough time for the arrival of the delivery
vessel and the transfer?  Was she aware of their strict docking
regulations?  They haggled--but she was firm:  she would pay for five riks

 The Romulans who were occupying a suite on the upper deck of Central
Station had not been particularly anxious.  They knew the ship the humans
were coming in on and and the arrival time.  Yet there was a certain stir
when the Romulan lieutenant who commanded the surveillance unit reported
in as the countdown approached its end:  only seven riks more before the
arrival of the Danzig on Pier 25. 
 The lieutenant was delivering the surveillance update to his chief.  He
tried not to stare as he reported his routine news, but it was hard not
to.  The Commander who had taken charge of this operation was certainly
something to look at.  For one thing, blonde Romulans were a rarity.  For
another, this female Commander had an intensity about her that lit fires
wherever she was assigned.
 "The Klingon freighter JehNal departed with all hands at 12:55.  A pair
of Bajorans disembarked a yacht at 13:10 and immediately transported to
the planet surface," the Romulan lieutenant reported.  He handed her the
holo-images they had taken surreptitiously at the transport center.  Every
species aligned with the Federation had been checked out even though the
Romulans knew when and where their quarry would be.
 The officer who had been running the operation until now, Sub-commander
Komal, looked annoyed at the interruption.  "Fine, Lieutenant, put it down
somewhere... " He turned back to the blond Commander who had arrived
yesterday to oversee the latest development.  "As I was saying, the Suari
refuse to hold any longer that pilot who ferried the Federation spies."
 "Has he said anything?"  She accepted the holo-imager  from the
Lieutenant's hand.
 "He admits that he transported the spy to D'Klat, but he claims that the
man passed himself off as a freelance merchant.  According to this Suari
-- Telam is his name, he'd never seen this person before and didn't ask
anything about his business.  He continues to claim that he has no
knowledge of any Starfleet Intelligence plot.  The Suari government has
had him examined telepathically, but they will not allow him to be probed
using our methods.  Pity...."
 "The pity is that you didn't take Commander Kirov before he made port."  
 "When we received the intelligence that Commander Kirov was to arrive
here, we sent our fastest vessel.  He was apprehended on the freighter
nearly upon arrival." 
 "Then why have we not found the intelligence he was carrying?"
 The officer assumed the standard penitent attitude: stiff back, eyes
straight ahead, chin out as if to catch a blow. "I cannot explain,
Commander," he said. 
 "You cannot explain?  And he was killed before the interrogation was
 "It was an accident, Commander.  Humans are a relatively frail species."
Suddenly he realized that she might interpret the last remark as an
insult.  But what could he say, now?  It might be a worse insult to call
attention to her heritage with an apology.  "I am sorry," he concluded. "I
was not the interrogator."
 "We know for certain that no transport was made from the ship?"  She did
not seem to have noticed his blunder. 
 "None, Commander.  We downloaded the transporter logs, and they show no
transport. The Suari have finally transferred a copy of their central
transporter records.  Neither do they indicate any transport activity off
the ship."   
 She was again examining the image projections of the Bajorans.
 "Commander..." The lieutenant measured her frown.  "I assure you that
this operation will succeed. "
 She set down the holograms.  "Of course.  I have every confidence that
you will perform well, Lieutenant."
 "We have teams ready to follow them as soon as the Danzig docks. Once we
have established that they have located the stolen dispatch, we will move
in and apprehend them.  We have back-up at the personnel transporter and
on the planet surface, as well."
 "Simple plans are the best, Lieutenant," she dismissed him with a wave of
her hand and a smile as sweet as cyanide.
 As the door hissed closed, the blonde Romulan Commander turned back to
the surveillance images. The two Bajorans were by now somewhere below
on the planet.  Except for their noses, Bajorans were just like humans. 
She was better able than most Romulans to discern the individual features
of humans.  She was half-human herself.  She distractedly brushed back her
blond hair with a pensive hand.  
 "What's the matter, Commander Sela?" Komal murmured.
 "This one...the male," she frowned  "... he looks familiar."  
 Komal looked at the image.  "We have holograms of many of their agents
who ply this sector.  I've never seen anyone like him. It may be just an
imperfection in the processing.  Holo-images taken covertly sometimes get
little details wrong... the colors of the clothes... the hair..."
 She frowned, and then she shrugged and put it down.  "No, definitely not
the hair."


news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Sun Mar 31 17:38:50 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch 4 Part 2
Date: 31 Mar 1996 17:06:19 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 268
Message-ID: <4jmvkr$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 4: "Draemos" Part II

 Telam's house was in District 1551.  Kirov and Riker were materialized in
a world that appeared to be constructed totally of adobe.  Plaster and
tile enveloped them in unrelieved tones of warm beige, made even warmer by
the mobs of Suari in the district transit center. 
 Except during the Hour of Meditation just before sunset, the transit
centers were so continually busy that they used four banks of
transporters.  Two were reserved for arrivals and two for departures, and 
each set was appropriately programmed to send travelers quickly and
efficiently in the correct direction.  
 "Let me have your transporter badge," Lara said as she stepped off the
arrivals platform.  She slipped her own off and collected Riker's.  She
made her way to a row of little booths along the wall.  "Hold on just a
minute while I put them away."  She had brought a shielded case for them. 
The badges identified their patterns in the Suari's transporter buffer for
the departures terminal.  When they wished to retransport, the badges
would quickly identify them for cross-checking with a scanner, and they
would be beamed up.  Like the communicator pins on a starship, however,
the transporter badges could be used to locate them.
  Riker looked around while Kirov took what he thought was an inordinately
long time securing the badges.  The lobby led out to a broad open plaza
with a central fountain and lush tropical greenery in abundance.  An
open-air market was underway in the plaza, and the crowds were oppressive,
mostly Suari, but a fair number of intrepid off-worlders.
 He finally felt her slip her hand around his arm.
 "All set!" she smiled. "We'll move off slowly and see if anyone's
watching."  They strolled into the throng as if they were casual tourists
in search of exotic mementos of their vacation.  
 Ten minutes later, stopping by a fabric merchant's stall, Lara looked up
at Riker with an ironic smile.
 "You're acting very self-conscious.  Relax."  She guided him in front of
a mirror at a clothier's stall.  "See?  You look fine.  Now, that's the
Will I remember."
 He grimaced and ran a hand over his smooth shaved jaw line. "I feel
 "Now that's a Will I'll look forward to," she quipped as they moved back
into the crowd.  "But you're not exactly unobtrusive, are you?" 
 Riker slouched guiltily.  He was at least a head taller than the tallest
Suari in the crowd.
   "I don't suppose we can amputate at the knees, so I guess we'll just
have to use it to our advantage."  She surveyed the crowd.  "See that
Suara by the baker's?  The one with the blue tunic like mine?  We're going
to cross over and you're going to stand behind her.  I'll stand so that
she's between the two of us.  I'll duck down and pretend to take a stone
out of my boot just as she leaves.  When she moves off, you follow her. 
With any luck, the two of you will pick up anyone who's noticed us."
 "I thought I was supposed to be watching your back," he complained.
 She smiled sweetly.  "I'm the commanding officer for this little
excursion.  I just changed your assignment.  Now you front for me." 

 The Suara with the blue tunic, carrying her baskets through the narrow
twisting street, stopped at the strange noise behind her.  She looked back
nervously to see the tall broad-shouldered human still closely following
her.  He smiled apologetically trying to convey to her his complete
harmlessness.  Well, she was a bit suspicious of humans, but what could
happen in the midst of the afternoon bazaar?  Just around the corner were
Suari hawking their wares, haggling over the prices, hauling their
purchases.  To her left, down one of the alleys, a pair of lovers cuddled
in a doorway.  To the right, a shopkeeper at a little stand off the main
square scolded a Suara about handling his fruit.  Behind the
embarrassed-looking human, who partially obstructed her view, a pair of
N'Suar monks, thoroughly robed and hooded in their ritual garb, had been
moving slowly along the shaded wall toward them, but then, they tottered
and tumbled down onto the sidewalk.  That was odd. They must have come
from the tavern in the next street, evidently drunk already, even at this
early hour.  
 Right behind the N'Suars, a human female emerged, apparently coming to
their aid, poor naive thing!  The  woman was pocketing something small and
metallic (a trinket purchased at the bazaar, the Suara reckoned).  She
stepped over the fallen monks and pulled back their hoods to give them a
little air.  The male was walking back toward the group when the woman
turned away in an attitude of disgust.  "Locals!"  she snapped at the man,
who then struck his forehead with his palm.   
 That bothered the Suara. To imbibe so freely was, perhaps, disreputable
of the monks, but it was the only vice they could indulge in--and anyway,
who did these people think they were to take exception to local custom?  
 The blonde gestured abruptly at the male who nodded an apology to the
Suara and waved her a polite farewell before the female yanked him down a
side alley.  
 Humans!  They were a strange race.

 The address Kirov had for Telam was an apartment amongst the warrens of
office and residence complexes off the main plaza.
 "It's number 4168 in that building there," Lara said as she indicated a
U-shaped six story edifice across the street from the cafe where they
mingled with the patrons waiting in the usual disorganized Suaran queue.
"Not a watcher in sight.  I told you they wouldn't bother with this
 "Would you like to bag another pair of local clerics," Riker asked, "you
know, just to make sure?"
 "You were the one who said they'd be all over us."
 "I didn't expect you to see Romulans coming out of the walls."
 She began to cross the street toward the open courtyard. 
 "Are you sure that's the place?" he called after her.  She still didn't
deign to answer, so he strode off and caught her by the arm.  "Wait, let's
look it over a little more.  They could have sensor surveillance."
 "And read all these people day and night?" she responded.  It was true
that the apartment house seemed to have a great deal of coming and going,
Suari and off-worlders as well.  As a matter of fact, the whole complex
reminded Riker vaguely of a bordello.
 Lara spied the lift on the corner of the building.  "If there's anybody
watching the place, which I seriously doubt, they'll be in the apartment."
 "So what do you intend to do?" he asked following her through the
shifting groups of loungers in the courtyard.  "Knock on the door?"
 She ignored him and stepped into the lift, sliding the control to level
three.  The lift lurched upward.  
 When it reached the third floor, the lift car opened to a cacophony of
sound that Riker recognized as music though he would not have described it
in those terms.  To his ears it was a mixture of screeching and wailing
with a heavy, regular bass undertone that vibrated the inner cavities of
his body.  
 "Oh, a party!" Lara chirped with deliberate and annoying impertinence as
she disembarked the lift.  She strutted down the corridor in time to the
beat that pounded at them from an apartment on an upper level and stopped
before the doorway on which was inscribed, in several number systems,
 "I thought you said 4168," Riker said.
 Using her body as a shield, she surreptitiously removed the tricorder
from her bag and took a reading at the door. Disembodied laughter floated
down from the party above as the music paused and started up again.
 The tricorder reading never varied.  No one home.  She pulled a small
concave disk from her bag and fitted it over the lock.  Flicking the tiny
lever on its rim she waited while the device ticked for about five seconds
and then she pressed the door latch.  It opened to her touch.  She would
have walked right in except for Riker's restraining arm.  He sidled in
first, drawing his phaser.  
 The deserted two-room apartment was a mess.  Clothing and other personal
items were strewn about the furniture, the remains of a meal lay on the
table, and inside the second room the bed was unmade.  Lara paid no
attention at all, but stopped in the middle of the larger room and aimed a
tricorder at the ceiling. 
 She turned back to Riker who continued to sweep both rooms with wary eyes
and a ready weapon.  "Okay," she told him. "My tricorder reads nobody home
upstairs at Telam's.  We can go up and have a look."
 She moved to the window, opened the shutters, and stepped out onto a set
of rungs attached to the exterior wall, a safety ladder. She dropped the
tricorder into her bag and rummaged for her phaser.
 "Here. Take mine." Riker handed her his phaser as he followed her onto
the ladder.  "What were you going to do if this place was occupied?"
 "I'd have told them we were looking for the party," she answered from
above him.  Reaching far out, she managed to unhook the shutters on
Telam's apartment window and she pushed them apart, giving the room a
quick look over the outstretched phaser arm.  "Come on up," she said
climbing over the sill.
 Ducking through the window, Riker reclaimed the phaser as his eyes
adjusted from the bright sunshine to the gloom of Telam's apartment. 
Identical to the one below in its floor plan, this one was virtually bare.
The window they had entered by was on the wall opposite the door. About
three meters on their left was the door to the bedroom/bath combination. 
The bedroom contained nothing but the flat coverless bed and a large
unornamented wardrobe, both on the wall opposite the doorway, for the left
hand wall contained another large window and on the right was the bath. 
An empty table with a couple of uncomfortable-looking metal chairs were
the only furnishings in the living area besides the small built-in
cabinets and the standard apartment com panel in the wall.
 "Are you sure this is the place?" Riker asked again.  The sound from the
revelers above them was more oppressive in the vacant apartment.
 Kirov had pulled out the tricorder again and was beginning a scan.  For
the first time she looked worried.  "Yes I'm sure!"  She circled with the
tricorder and moved into the bedroom.  "It checked out with our
intelligence sources and the official Suari residence records," she called
back to Riker.  "This is it all right, but I don't understand --"
 They heard a muffled boom, and the floor shook slightly under them, but
not from the music. With a sound like ceramic crackling under heat, the
side wall of the apartment crumbled away, sending up a cloud of atomized
plaster, and three Romulan troopers with unslung disruptors appeared in
the opening where the wall used to be.
 "Out!" yelled Riker, and Kirov dove for the bedroom window.  Riker
dropped down and fired from a crouch just before he sprang through the
doorway.  The first Romulan coming through the opening was felled by the
initial blast from Riker's phaser.  The other two retreated momentarily
behind the portions of the wall left standing, but not before getting off
a couple shots that should have brought down the entire apartment.
 Low level setting, Riker thought, peering through the haze and dust from
the bedroom door.  The Romulans wanted them alive. 
 Clicking his phaser up from heavy stun, he fired a shot that was intended
to crumple the wall on top of them, but  merely took a chunk out of the
plaster.  He could see the skeleton of metal lath melted by the disruptors
when the Romulans punched their own doorway into the apartment. Obviously,
the Suari built to last, which was lucky for Riker as the Romulans' next
shot took a bite out of the wall that protected him.
 Between the dust and the din, the atmosphere in the Telam's living room
was thick enough to slice.  But in the bedroom, the air was just clear
enough for Riker to catch the flicker of a shadow at the window.  Kirov
was hanging onto the ladder and leaning in the window.  She made several
quick hand motions to him and he nodded in understanding.  He shifted his
position and got ready.
 He leaned into the doorway and fired, but instead of dodging back, he
shot forward toward the opposite side of the doorway, exposing his body
for a instant.  The Romulan fired just as he made the other side.
 "Uh!" he fell heavily backward onto the floor clutching his side. The
phaser scattered out a half meter in front of him, and he rolled over,
twisting through the doorway in the futile attempt to regain it, moaning
in pain.  His body curled in the instinctive position of a wounded animal.
 The Romulans rushed out from their positions and flattened themselves
against the near side of the bedroom wall.  One picked up the phaser, and
the other grabbed the gasping Riker by the throat.  
 "All right," the trooper called into the bedroom.  "Come on out here,  or
he's dead."
 As a shadow flickered over them, they turned to the window too late. 
From behind, Kirov dropped them with two easy shots and climbed back over
the sill into the destroyed living room.
 "God, what a ham!" she said helping Riker up.  "Worst acting I've ever
 "Well, I admit it's not the Royal Shakespeare," he said, "but I didn't
think I was that bad."
 They surveyed the ruined apartment as the band upstairs finished their
number with a flourish of percussion.  The sudden quiet afterward was
 "Come on," he said, stepping over the unconscious Romulans. "Their
back-up could be here any minute."
 She seemed not to have heard. She took tricorder readings of the debris
once again. "They're not here!" she said desperately. "There's no high
tech signature anywhere in these rooms.  But the ILOC's have got to be
here!  I know the way Nicky operated.  He would have sent them to Telam."
 Riker debated himself for a second and then folded down the drop leaf in
the wall to expose the touchpad of the apartment's com panel.  "Can you
get into this?" he asked her.
 She gave it hardly an instant's scrutiny, "Of course, but why?"
 "Can you do it quickly?"
 She all but sneered at the simple panel.  "Yes!  But why?"
 "We need to know where Telam was placing his calls.  He may have been
staying here, but he didn't live here."
 "What are you talking about?"
 "You keep on telling me this is the place, but it's not."  He righted one
of the chairs for her beside the panel and moved to the window to keep
surveillance on their exit.  "How much do you know about the Suari, Lara?"
 She stood beside the chair, her annoyance undisguised. "All right,
enlighten me, Will.  What am I supposed to know about the Suari?"  
 "Start already!" he barked at her.  "We don't have forever!"
 She flung the chair out of the way and began to work standing at the
 Riker looked out discreetly, willing himself to a calm he didn't feel. 
"You see how crowded it is here, Lara?" he spoke quietly from the window. 
"The whole planet is like this--at critical mass.  You know what happens
to some species when they overpopulate?  Nature takes over and tries to
restore the balance.  They packed this planet to the breaking point and
now, fertility has declined radically on Draemos."
 "Fascinating, but what has that got to do with anything?"
 "Women are bearing sterile daughters. Those who can conceive are at a
premium.  To have a wife and beget children is a highly valued lifestyle,
a privilege granted only to men who can manage property and business
interests.  If Telam had a freelance business with a freighter of his own,
he had a wife and kids."
 She looked around at the four bare walls while her fingers continued to
work the touchpad. "So where are they?"
 "With his wife's family. On Draemos you marry into your wife's family. 
This may be a house Telam owned, but somewhere in that little nest of
circuits is the name of the place that Telam thought of as home."
 The screen scrolled up a list of recently placed communications.  More
than half of them bore the same designation code. It took only a moment to
cross reference to an address book and a city map.
 "Heyra Telam Olim.  District 1552, Grid A4," she read off the screen.
"It's only two kilometers northwest of here."
 "With any luck, the Romulans won't have figured it out any more than you
did.  They don't have any interest in indigenous cultures either."  
 She ignored the sarcasm. "All right, then. Let's go." 

com!!!!!not-for-mail Sat Apr  6 23:04:25 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel Jigsaw Ch 5 Part 1
Date: 1 Apr 1996 22:53:31 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 251
Message-ID: <4jq8br$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 5 "Possessive Case" Part 1

           Picard ate breakfast alone.  No one appeared that morning to
keep him company and that was unusual, but not in the way he had hoped.
          The first week on Starbase 191, Beverly had been his regular
morning companion for breakfast, continuing a habit that they had followed
on the Enterprise whenever the ship stood down from urgent missions and
pursued the less intensive regular exploration schedule.  Picard had
assumed that in the present situation, the general leave of absence, their
long established practice would hold true.  And it had--in exactly the
opposite way.  Their tenure on the Starbase had turned into the workload
equivalent of a critical mission,  a series of crises d'jour as department
heads began to pursue Picard for decisions and resolutions, utterly
bypassing Rear Admiral Christopher's ineffectual staff.  Beverly had
stopped coming to breakfast because it was continually interrupted by
somebody who had a problem that was so important that somebody else's
breakfast could wait.
          This morning was unusual in that no frantic Starbase personnel
had appeared yet with the latest emergency, and Picard was in the middle
of his tea and croissants, grateful for a little time to himself.  A
solitary breakfast gave him some time to think. He was considering
          He may have been the author of the "Picard Maneuver" and no mean
tactician, but when it came to Beverly, no course of action seemed to be
          When the Enterprise had gone to Kes-Prytt to evaluate the Kes's
petition for entry into the Federation, he and Beverly had been detained
by the xenophobic Prytt who implanted neurological probes in both of them
in an attempt to ferret out the Federation's "secret" motives for an
alliance with the Kes.  Quite accidentally, the implants had linked them
telepathically, and he had discovered that his long repressed attraction
to Beverly was returned.  His passion for her had rekindled, and after
they had been rescued and restored, he asked her whether they should not
explore those feelings.   Inexplicably, she had said not .  
          He was surprised and disappointed.  And not a little puzzled. 
He had been so sure that she felt something more than friendship for him. 
How he wished they had still been attached mentally then!  Or now.
          If he didn't do something to let her know he wanted her to
reconsider, that he wanted that chance, how likely was it that Beverly
would change her mind?  But if he pursued her when she'd already said that
she wanted only a professional relationship, would he drive her even
further away?  Perhaps she believed that he was just angling for a chief
medical officer.  Or, worst of all, knowing what he'd sacrificed to return
from the Nexus, would she decide that he had finally broken down out of
some desperate loneliness or out of duty to see his family line continue
now that his brother and nephew, his only blood relations, were dead?
          His tea had grown cold as he pondered.  He pushed it aside with
the resolution that he would march right now down to the Medical
Department.   He was going to see her, confront her, let her know straight
out what was on his mind.  He got up decisively and by the time he made it
to the door, he'd changed his mind.  He didn't know how to put it in a way
that was guaranteed not to backfire.  It was exasperating.  He was man
well versed in literature, a man who could recite Shakespearean sonnets
from memory.  Why did simple words so elude him?  
          They were simpler when he was only a character saying lines. 
          He went up to the Starbase offices to begin his day.  Maybe he'd
get to the clinic later.  

          Sitting at the desk in the lobby was the boy Rear Admiral
Christopher had chosen as a personal assistant, Lieutenant Ashley
Innsbrook.  Innsbrook was supposed to be organizing the Admiral's new
office on the Starbase, but what he did mainly was dress up the lobby. 
Picard had discovered quickly that although he could order Innsbrook to do
a job, it would come back done incompetently, if it were done at all.  And
since he couldn't get rid of Innsbrook, he found it easier just to ignore
him.   This morning, when Picard strode by on his way to the Commandant's
office, Innsbrook was idly passing the time with a young, pretty--and
pretty vacant--civilian clerical aide, also a personal choice of Admiral
          "Oh, good morning, Captain--"
          Picard had already walked right on by Innsbrook's desk, and he
didn't deign to look back in returning the greeting.  That was all right
with Innsbrook, who just as often didn't bother to recognize the presence
of his commander's surrogate in any way.   Yet he had never been called on
it.  Strange that Picard was not annoyed or insulted or even aware that he
should have been.  Distracted, he seemed most of the time. Not much of a
captain as far as Innsbrook was concerned.  Maybe, like Christopher, they
all got to the stage where they let their reputation carry them and had
their staff do all the real work. Christopher spent most of his time these
days flitting around the quadrant with Captain Adjan, leaving the minutia
to anybody further down the line.  Well, Innsbrook was tired of being an
anybody, because he was a somebody, being a nephew to an admiral back on
Earth and his mother an official of the Federation. Why the two of them
had arranged a posting for him way out here in this hinterland, he had no
          "Oh, by the way, Captain," he called after Picard.  "The Admiral
was here to see you."
          Picard halted and turned.
          "When he saw you weren't here yet, he decided to go check on
some things for himself.  I think you'll find him in Medical."
          Wonderful, Picard thought, the clinic now.

          Admiral Christopher did not appear to be in the Medical
Department, but Beverly was.  He noticed her immediately, bubbling like
champagne, in conversation with a civilian physician who looked as dour as
flat beer.
          He walked up to them.
          "Oh, Jean-Luc!" she seemed surprised to see him. "This is Jarus
Feld. Captain Picard was my commanding officer," she explained.
          Picard shook hands, noticing the past tense.
          "Doctor Feld has been showing me an instrument for a new
technique he's developed," Beverly picked up and fitted to her head a
semicircular band running from temple to temple over the crown of her
head.  The  inner rim was studded with tiny blunt probes.  A curved smooth
wand extended from the midpoint downward over forehead toward her nose.
          Picard smiled curiously at her, craning his neck at the odd
device.  It was difficult to do--Beverly was so beautiful--but this thing
did it.  She looked perfectly ridiculous.
          "It's a rapid stasis inducer," Feld provided.  "For emergency
trauma treatment."
          Picard's perfunctory nod should have told the doctor that he
didn't need or desire further explanation, but Doctor Feld didn't believe
in ignorance, incidental or deliberate.  
          "Let me see.... What is the most practical way for a starship
captain like yourself to understand it?"  Feld began.   "All right.  Let
us assume, for instance,  that you have gone into battle and sustained
heavy casualties arriving in sick bay in numbers requiring triage--"
          "Starships are not frequently engaged in military scenarios such
as you describe," Picard informed him.  
          "Well then, make it an earthquake or an avalanche or some other
natural disaster. Use your imagination,"  the doctor urged.  "Anyway, you
have too many casualties for the medical staff to see at once, so those
who are dead are left dead, without trying resuscitation procedures that
might have been given had there been time.  The inducer buys that time to
get the body into stasis without cellular decay, allowing resuscitation
attempts later on when the influx of causalities has slowed."
          "Yes," Picard replied. "I can see where this would be an
important advancement.  Despite our lack of combat mayhem, I suppose there
have been times when such a device would have been useful."
          "I was working on this idea in the Research Department when
Beverly headed Starfleet Medical."
          "It's too bad we never really had the time for it, Jay. It was
such a hectic year at SMC." Beverly delicately removed the device and laid
it on the table before them.
          "Back in '42," Picard recalled.
          Beverly raised an eyebrow at him.
          "It was a long year on the Enterprise," he said.
          "I must have started this in '41 then," Feld's voice held a hint
of grievance.  "I swear it's taken this this long because of the
incredible bureaucracy that settled in after you left, Beverly."  He
turned to Picard.  "I was just saying to Dr. Crusher, if only she'd stayed
          "Doctor Feld?" a nurse had crept up deferentially to his elbow.
"You asked to be told as soon as we got the resonance tests."
          "Oh, oh, yes, if you'll excuse me?  Nice to meet you, Captain. 
Really, Beverly, we should get together later for a drink." Feld backed
off following the nurse.  "Replay old times, yes?" 
          Beverly waved a vague good-bye.
          "So, do you think you'll replay some old times?" Picard asked
her when the doctor had left.
          "Actually, I'm doing my best not to," she said, her hand
straying back to Feld's odd contraption.
          "Well, he seems a friendly sort.  Certainly has a good opinion
of you.  Is there a reason not have a drink for old time's sake?"
          "That's not what I meant." 
          "What then?"
          "I just don't want to hear any more 'if only's'."  She turned
away and headed toward one of the offices.  
          Picard followed.           "Not that I'm promoting Dr. Feld, but
 you don't want to toss out all your old friends like yesterday's
recycling, do you?"
          She was fiddling with the data padds on the desk.  The
effervescence she'd shown with Feld had evaporated.   She looked up
absently. "What?"
          "I was talking about old friends."
          She looked back down.  "Oh."
          "What were you thinking about?"
          She paused a moment.  "The crash," she said finally.  She
continued to conduct her survey of the padds. "When Jay was talking about
earthquakes and avalanches, I was thinking crash  -- earthquake or
avalanche or crash.  We did lose seventeen people."
          "I'm sorry," he said.  "Did you know them well?"
          "Know them?"  she asked.  "I guess so.  I was their doctor. The
Martinez child . . .?   I delivered that baby."            
          Picard came around the desk and reached out to her, but she
moved away, leaving his arms empty like an expression of confusion.
          He folded them across his chest instead.  "Beverly, I am sorry,"
he said. "But you can't blame yourself.  You did everything humanly
          "Of course I don't blame myself!"  She seemed annoyed at the
very idea. "But when you start to talk about the past and what might have
          "Beverly, if there's anything I've learned in all this, it's
that you can't let the regrets of what might have been keep you from
realizing what yet can be. I'm sorry if I--"
          She huffed a sigh and smiled determinedly and gave his arm a
squeeze as if SHE were comforting HIM. "Don't be sorry," she told him.  "I
agree with you completely. You can't let the past bury you.  You have to
think of what you can do now.  As you were sayin -- what is humanly
          "I think the whole question of doing everything humanly
possible," she went on, "depends on just what is humanly possible at any
time in history -- our level of advancement in all areas of knowledge. 
You can't cure what you haven't taken the time to learn.  It just goes to
show that research is what underlies all the practice.  Someone should
have taken the time to study and develop Jay's technology, but that
opportunity is gone now.  What's important is that other opportunities
aren't wasted. We should move ahead, move on...that's why I plan to get
back to research."
          "I see."   He didn't know what to say then, as she busied
herself at her desk. He didn't want to just leave it, but he wasn't sure
how to handle what she had just told him, or how to navigate the
conversation to what he had hoped to discuss.
          He cleared his throat."Have you heard from Wesley?"
          "Why are you bringing him up?"  she asked a trifle sharply.
          "I  --I just wondered if you'd heard from Wesley."  What was he
supposed to say? I said it to fill in an awkward moment? I didn't know
what else to say?    Surely she HAD heard from him. 
          "We spoke.  He's studying hard," she said.  "Harder even then at
the Academy.  I told him I'm fine--we're all fine.  He doesn't need to
come out here."  Her indifference was surprising to say the least. 
"Children grow up, Jean-Luc.  Don't regret not having had any.  They
eventually become their own people and go off and live their own lives and
you end up in the same place as if you never had them."
          "But you have a whole life together that keeps going on."
          "It should get to be a whole life apart,"  she said with cool
casualness.  "Parents make a serious mistake who intrude in their grown
children's lives.  That's living in the past."
             "Some things aren't only in the past," he protested. "What
did Wesley say about your plans?  Beverly,  you know, maybe it would be
the best plan if you were to take some time away from medicine altogether,
just stop and maybe visit with Wes--really think about what sort of
          "If you ask me," she said, her temper beginning to show,  "you
should stop telling everyone what they should do.  Look at yourself. 
Still trying to keep up a command wherever there's a little vacuum of
authority.  Are you asking yourself what sort of life you want to lead
from here on?  Or are you just assuming that there will be another ship
and another crew and everything will roll right along the same as always
and time and the universe will stand still for you?"
          How it had become an argument, he wasn't sure, but before he
could try to defuse it-- 
          "There you are Picard!  I've been looking all over for you," the
voice grew stronger as it approached from the open laboratory.  Rear
Admiral Christopher was now emphatically in Medical Department.  
          "Beverly!   Beautiful as ever!" he strode over, his florid
fatures immediately provoking Picard's unreasoned resentment.  
          She turned with a smile that was a little strained, but she
allowed the admiral  a friendly embrace.


com!!!!!not-for-mail Sat Apr  6 23:04:29 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch 5 Part 2
Date: 1 Apr 1996 22:53:45 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 278
Message-ID: <4jq8c9$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 5 "Possessive Case" Part 2

          Christopher and Picard made their way back through several
construction areas toward the office complex for the Station Commandant
and Starfleet Command, the admiral keeping up a steady commentary on
everything he saw.
          "We met all day yesterday with the damned Romulans.  They're
still screaming about our opening this place.  Believe me, if they knew
what troubles we've had getting this far, they'd be taking bets that we
won't ever open.  So. . .  I see that you've managed to straighten out
that little schedule problem for the modifications on the upper deck
shuttle bays?" Christopher huffed.  
          "Yes, sir."  It had taken only four days and seven consultations
with the architects and the engineers.
          "That's too bad,  because now the damned Zakdorns are telling us
that they won't be done with the construction platform on time.  You know
that big construction platform out at Veridian that they're using
deconstruct what's left of the Enterprise?"
          Picard was surprised by the twinge that even the word
"deconstruct" evoked.
          "Anyway,  I see that you managed to get the holodecks on line,"
Christopher continued.
          "That was actually Lieutenant Commander Data, sir.  He's taken
on the holodeck software installations as a personal project."
          "Yes, the android," Christopher said as they entered the
isolation of the turbolift.  "I understand that he's quite the phenom. 
You certainly struck latinum with that one, hey?"  
          Latinum?  Was that a joke?  The Admiral couldn't be making a
reference to Data's skin color?  
          Christopher chuckled at his own humor and then pulled his face
down into a more somber expression. "But I understand that there has been
a recent alteration in his design?"
          "Yes.  A new chip was added-- actually, one that was intended to
be part of the original design."
          "To 'complete the affective domain', the report says?"
          "To allow Data to experience emotion, yes,"
          Christopher rubbed his chin in a posture of thoughtfulness, more
an imposture in Picard's opinion. 
          "Really, I have to say it's a strange idea, antithetical, in my
opinion, to the whole idea of creating an android.  I can't conceive of it
as an improvement in the overall design, but I thought I would confirm my
impression with you.  I wanted to know if, from your own experience, you
find that the alteration was justified."
          "Justified, sir?"
          "Has it affected the android's performance?  Is he able to carry
out his orders, perform his duties as efficiently as before?"
          Picard recalled Data's report of his performance during the
Veridian crisis, the sense of guilt that he'd never experienced before
over events that he couldn't have prevented. "I don't understand how
justification is an issue here, sir, except that justice be done for Data
himself.  Might I ask the Admiral where exactly this line of questions is
          "I was thinking that I might have some use for him."
          "There are a number of small jobs I might have him do. Sensitive
areas--can't discuss them, you know--where I'd need to have an officer who
is utterly reliable." 
          "You mean one whom you could order to maintain secrecy?"
          "--and depend upon those orders being carried out."
          The turbolift door opened, and they exited onto the
administrative deck of the Starbase.  Picard had a moment to think about
how to phrase what he next wanted to say.
           "Data also has a moral program as well as an encyclopedic
knowledge of Starfleet regulations and Federation law--"
          Christopher scowled. "I should hope so. "
          "I was going to say, sir, that Data would be a good choice for a
confidential project for just that reason.  You could be sure that no
legal or moral principle had been transgressed just to get the mission
accomplished.  But I was going to say that Data, like the rest of my crew,
needs the leave time you've granted us."
          "So that one of the best computers in Starfleet can play games
with the holodeck computers?"
          "So that a regular officer of Starfleet can adjust
psychologically to the loss of his ship and to a new assignment."
          "You see, that's why I don't feel it was good idea to invest
this artificial life form with a bunch of artificial feelings,"  the
admiral harrumphed. "But I'm not talking about a full time job for your
android yet.  Just some light duties.  I want to put him through his paces
before I make any decision."
          "About whether to request him for reassignment once the leave
          "Request him?"
          Christopher scowled at Picard, "Did you just tumble out of bed,
Picard?  You do seem a little slow on the uptake this morning."  
          Picard, usually the most self-contained of men, strained for
composure, as the admiral looked him over and relinquished his annoyance
for a slow grin that spread across his face. 
          "What's this, Picard?  Bit of a tough night, hey?  Never mind. 
After all, it is kind of a vacation for you, too then, isn't it?"  Picard
was half certain that he'd felt the admiral's elbow in his side.  "Now
you're here at the Starbase, you find yourself in a mood to let down your
hair?"  Christopher enjoyed another self-indulgent chuckle.  
          The captain was too astonished to respond.
           "Really, it's all right, you deserve it.  Loll around a little.
 Your people will get it done.  You know, you've managed to acquire quite
a staff for yourself, Jean-Luc, a lot of top notch officers."  Christopher
wagged a finger playfully at him as they continued walking toward the main
offices.  "Tell me, how did Fleet let you get away with all the prizes?"
           "They are a fine staff, Admiral.  I could not agree more."
Picard had, for a moment, felt surrounded by surreality; here at least was
ground he could stand on.
          "But really, a man should share the wealth a little, don't you
think, Jean-Luc?  Like that second officer of yours."
          "Admiral, your references to the Enterprise staff in the
possessive case, particularly to Data as 'my' android, 'my' officer, are,
frankly, uncomfortable for me.  I defended Lieutenant Commander Data in
the case that determined his rights as a sentient being.  He does not in
any sense belong to anyone, least of all to me." 
          "Well, that's just what I was saying to Beverly.  These people
don't belong to any one man.  There's no reason why they shouldn't move on
and make their own way now, is there?"
          The ground had turned to quicksand.  "No sir," Picard replied.
"There's no reason at all."
          They had arrived at the offices, where Innsbrook was talking
with Captain Adjan, whom he immediately dropped. The Lieutenant stood up
to brief attention and then  came around the desk to greet his benefactor.
          "Hello, Admiral!" he chirped.
          "Well, there, how's it going, Innsbrook?  Keeping things purring
right along for Captain Picard, are you?"
          "Yes, sir!" Lieutenant Innsbrook responded.
          "Then perhaps the captain will allow you to conduct me and
Captain Adjan on a little tour of the progress, and then a bit of lunch,
yes? "  Christopher glanced over to Picard with a look that was clearly
not a request for his permission.
           "Oh, and Picard, the Zakdorns and the general contractor for
the starbase are at each's throats over the schedule change for that
construction platform.  It's going to need an arbitration hearing.  I left
the particulars with Innsbrook -- for your attention."
          "It's on your desk, Captain." 
          "Technology issues involved,"  Christopher pointed at him. "You
might want to have a chat with your engineer, that Mr. LaForge."
          "Uh-oh." Innsbrook cut in. "I'm afraid Mr. LaForge isn't on the
Starbase, sir."
           The admiral scowled. "I thought the whole idea was to have
these people stay together here.  Where in the hell is he?"
          Innsbrook waited for Picard to answer this time.
          "At the Anaxagorus Outpost," Picard replied.
          "What the devil's he doing out there?  There's nothing on
Anaxagorus anymore.  Their projects are all but packed up."
          "He is assisting the relocation, sir, in lieu of working with
the Zakdorns on the Enterprise salvage," Picard reminded him.
          Christopher shrugged.  "Very well. Oh!  I also have some
business to discuss with that security officer -- the Klingon."
          Innsbrook shifted slightly, hands behind his back.
"Unfortunately, Lieutenant Commander Worf is not on the station at the
moment, either.  I was told that he is piloting one of the new
          "Checking out the weaponry, eh?  Those Klingons! Always prepping
for the next war."
          "Uh, no sir," Innsbrook replied.  "He's chaperoning a school
group on a field trip."
          Admiral Christopher cocked his head at Innsbrook as though he
hadn't heard properly.  The lieutenant silently passed the ball to Picard.

          "I believe the trip is related to cultural studies--of the
Klingon...culture."  Picard smiled wanly, trying hard to remember that it
was not as ridiculous as it sounded.
          As he exited with Innsbrook tagging along behind him, the
admiral was heard to mutter "... got the android playing on the holodeck,
the engineer packing boxes, and the Klingon teaching kindergarten.... "
     It was the last of Counselor Troi's daily duties.  She stood in the
lobby sensing the waves of frustration clear into the corridor. 
Considering that it was a huge, nearly unoccupied office suite, and
considering that it was late, and considering that the Captain was
normally such a restrained personality even in private, it must have been
some powerful frustration.  Did she want to bait the bear in his den on a
day that had ended in this mood?  There was always the question in
counseling whether to let your patients work things out themselves or
whether to intervene.  She teetered on the edge of choice and then decided
to plunge in.  It would be cowardly not to, and her mother had raised no
     She stepped into the outer office and heard the computer softly
announce her presence to the inner sanctum.  She sensed a momentary flash
of annoyance from within, not very flattering, but not meant personally. 
She sensed how he instantly rebuked the emotion and put it away.  In the
same way, a moment later, Jean-Luc Picard shoved by the endless
"paperwork"  he was toiling at when she appeared on the threshold.  His
desk and his consciousness and, once again, a chair had been cleared for
his Ship's Counselor.
     She leaned against the doorway and surveyed the usual mess with
folded arms.
     "Yes, I know," he said with a short chagrined nod.  "But the chain of
command has a few missing links here....  So, Counselor Troi,"  he waved
her into the clear chair, and assuming what her business with him must be,
he asked, "How is the crew?"
     "I sense generally that people are working on their feelings,
settling issues in their minds, reconciling themselves and beginning to
look at the future.  My report summarizing the crew interviews is--" she
looked around the heaps of data on the desk "--here somewhere."
     "Good, very good," he nodded curtly.
     "There is, however, a reassignment of a crew member that I'd like to
discuss with you."
     "If you've come to chastise me about Lieutenant Commander Data --"
right to the heart of the frustration-- "I have made it perfectly plain to
Admiral Christopher that Data is a full member of the crew with the same
needs and privileges as anyone else, and he is not to be considered some
portable computer to be shunted around at will!"
     "Captain?"  His remarks, or more likely his emotional state, had
startled her.  He had let loose, but then he quickly regained control. 
     "I'm sorry, Counselor. My conversation with Admiral Christopher this
morning did not go very well."
     "I was not aware that you had spoken to the Admiral about Data."
      Picard sighed and briefly recapped what he and Christopher had
     "Yes, I see the difficulty, Captain," she said when she'd heard him
out.   "But Data is definitely affected by the emotion chip."   
     "I agree.  But I don't want to raise doubts about Data's competence
to do his duties.  Neither do I want to push him back to those duties
until he's ready.  And I certainly don't want anyone ordering him to
remove his emotional program."
     "Of course not.  But the truth is that none of us really knows if
Data is fit for duty yet, if he can cope with the emotional responses he's
     "He can't learn to handle his emotions without-- handling them!  It's
a paradoxical situation, but there's no other way to deal with it."  He
was poised for argument. 
     "I don't disagree, Captain.  Just like anyone else, emotion will
affect Data, but, just like anyone else,  he also has an intellect.  He
has a choice whether or not to let his emotions affect his deeds. We can't
deny the first and we shouldn't deny the second."
      She could sense him standing down like the ship coming off Red
Alert.  "I wish I had said it that simply to Admiral Christopher," he
      "It sounds like you presented your point of view quite well."
     He walked away from his desk, hands clasped behind him, the anger
ebbing and the cool, critical faculities of a commander edging back.  "I
handled it badly," he said.  "I let my feelings have too much sway."
     "You and Data have grown very close."
     He gave half a laugh. "I meant my feelings about Admiral
     "And how do you feel?" She knew, of course, but it was important that
he be the one to acknowledge it. 
     "It's--"  He frowned deeply and then with rueful insight, he
confessed.  "It's like being demoted to first officer again.  And the
Admiral's style as a commanding officer is one that I would have a hard
time living with.  He uses the people on his staff without any respect for
them.  He does not delegate his authority so much as he relieves himself
of it.  And at the same time, he usurps the credit for the efforts of
those under him.  It's clear to me that whoever is named to command at
this base will be at the beck and call of Rear Admiral Jeremy Christopher,
who will make this place his palace and expect it to be run for him. I
find I have the utmost sympathy for Captain Adjan."
     "Captain Adjan?"
     "The Admiral's aide de camp.  A desk captain."
     "Yes," Deanna smiled.  "He introduced himself last night."
     "Adjan ran the show for the Rear Admiral until he was transferred to
another assignment.  Christopher's current staff can't find their noses
without a mirror.  And now that the Enterprise staff has landed here, of
     " --he's got you.  Well, Captain, don't you think it's time to
exercise a little command of the situation?  Admiral Christopher may
delegate too much, but you're not delegating enough. It's ridiculous for
you to field all of this work.  It rightly belongs to his staff.  Command
them, or I should say, commandeer them.  You have the authority."  
     "Well, Counselor, you and Doctor Crusher ought to get together. She
thinks my problem is that I'm trying to command where I have no
     Deanna filed that comment for later.
     "But it doesn't matter," he continued.  "I could delegate this work
till the next millennium, and it would all still come back to me, done
     "Then use your own staff.  Use the Enterprise staff."
     She could sense real reluctance. "They don't need to take on new
assignments.  Just as you said, they need time. They need to find their
own way.  They can't rely on -- what used to be."
     Ah, ha, she thought. The ship is gone.  The relationship is over.  
That's what he's saying.  He's already making the separation. 

com!!!!!not-for-mail Sat Apr  6 23:04:33 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch 5 Part 3
Date: 1 Apr 1996 22:53:49 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 257
Message-ID: <4jq8cd$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 5 "Possessive Case" Part 3

     "Well, I'm glad we're having this conversation.  It's what I came to
see you about, not Data," the counselor began anew.
     "I beg your pardon?"
     "The reassignment I spoke of?  There is another crewman, not Data,
I'd like to see in a new position."
     "Who is that?"
     "Lieutenant Strauss."
     Picard looked at her blankly.  He obviously could not place the name.
     "Big, blonde," she prompted. "At least two hundred pounds.  All
muscle, except for the scowl.  He started with Worf's security division
but his last assignment was assistant to the quartermaster and he really
needs something to do or he'll go stir crazy."
     "What position are you recommending?"
     "Secretary.  To you."
     "Secretary? "
     "All right then, how about 'bouncer'?  Half your problem is that
anyone can walk in here and demand your time.  I guarantee you, if you put
Strauss on, no one will get by without an appointment, and it will be a
big help to him."
     "Is this some ploy to--"
     "A BIG help to HIM," she insisted.
     "All right," Picard acceded haplessly. "But I don't have time to
train a secretary, so I hope he learns quickly.  For the next few days
what I really need is a lawyer."
     "A lawyer?  I thought the court martial was a formality!"
     "No, no," he shook his head.  "It's not about the court martial. It's
an arbitration, but it's likely to become a suit.  The Zakdorns and the
Intoshi construction crew are arguing about the lease of a construction
     "But how does that involve you?" 
     "This Starbase, Counselor, is the administrative center for the
sector, and so handles all sorts of Starfleet and Federation business,
including certain legal matters like contractual disputes.  But
unfortunately, the Administrative Law Department is among the last ones
scheduled to open here.  They're actually about six months behind in
preparations.  You know how lawyers are.   Now, Admiral Christopher would
normally handle this but--"
     "Yes, I understand, " she said. "Arbitration does require specialized
     There was a beat where her words seemed to hang suspended in the air.
 He looked up at her thoughtfully.
     "You know, Counselor, you're perfectly right," he said.  He stacked
up the padds he'd scattered across the desk and set the pile in front of
Troi.  "Commander Troi, you're hired."
     "I beg your pardon, Captain?" 
     "You're completely right. It IS ridiculous that I should be operating
here without any assistance.  I name you to mediate this case."
     "But Captain--!"
     "But who better?  You've done dozens of negotiations with me, Deanna.
 You have both excellent training and, I believe, a natural gift  for this
sort of work." 
     "But Captain--I don't think I'm the one who ought to be dealing with
something that might become a legal case--especially involving alien races
like the--"
     "Ah," he nodded, suddenly frowning, "maybe you're right."
     It was such an abrupt turnabout that she was caught off guard.
     "The Intoshi and the Zakdorns, yes, I see!  They have such primitive
notions of women.  All they think of when they see a woman, especially a
woman who is young and attractive,  well, you know what that is, I'm sure.
 The idea that I might be seen to be dangling you before them is
absolutely repulsive!  Besides, they'd not be likely to respect you as a
arbiter.  They would take one look at you, and they certainly wouldn't be
seeing your training or those abilities I spoke of.  No, I would certainly
not put you in such an untenable position--"
     "Captain, I believe it's important to demonstrate to people like the
Intoshi and the Zakdorns that women are every bit as capable as men no
matter what the race.  And the argument that women cannot take certain
roles because they must be protected from men's advances is archaic."
     "You're right," he said emphatically.  "I SHOULD give you this
     "No, wait a minute, Captain, I didn't mean--I mean, I did mean--no,
what I mean is--I'm not a good choice for a mediation involving
technology.  Betazoids are not the most technologically inclined people."
     "Now just a moment, Counselor.  You reject the notion that women
should not mediate for certain races because that would mean we were on
some level accepting their stereotyping.  But now you want me to give in
to the notion that a Betazoid should not mediate a dispute over technology
because of a similar stereotype.  Do I detect a double standard here?"  
     "Fine, strike that last remark,"  Deanna conceded.  "Let me say
instead that I  am not the most technologically inclined person."
     "Easily remedied.  Mr. Data will assist you.   He can provide both
the specialized information you will need, and he's an excellent
chaperone.  We will then also be able to insist that he remain under my
authority. "  He got up and placed the padds in her arms.  "We'll be
killing two aviforms with a single petrification."  
     As she stared at him, he began to bundle her and the case out of the
office.  "No doubt you'll want to study the contract.  I'm sure you can
come up with a solution that avoids court."
     "Captain, perhaps if I could just take a little time to think about
     "I'll inform Mr. Data immediately that he is to assist you.  Thank
you, Counselor.  I very much appreciate your visit.  Now if you will
excuse me, I believe I still have my nightly appearance in the lounge." 
He frowned  "--does make it sound like a cabaret act--"  and started
vigorously for the turbolift. 
     She stood in the corridor with an armful of padds and slowly turned
toward her rooms, shell-shocked by her own success. 

     The Starbase Lounge was sparsely populated.  Picard didn't see many
of the Enterprise people there, and the ones he did notice were clustered
in chatty groups or sequestered in cozy twosomes.  No one looked like he 
needed the reassurance of his captain's presence.  He turned to leave. 
     And there she was.  "Good evening, Captain."
     The former barkeep of the UFP Enterprise, a beautiful dark-skinned
ElAurian in shimmering robes, seemed to materialize out of the dim light
at a table in the corner where she could no doubt observe all that was
going on in the room. 
     "You were probably expecting to see me over there." She pointed to
the area behind the bar.  "But here I am, a customer like yourself. Sit
down a moment." 
     He pulled out a chair as she surveyed the lounge in much the same way
he had.  "It does kind of humble a person," was her comment.
       "What does?"
     "To watch as someone else does your job." She indicated the
flamboyant bartender mixing an elaborate cocktail.  "But someday I guess
that's all I'll be doing.  I'll get to be eight or nine hundred and too
old to do anything else  but reminisce."
     "Is that what you were doing?" he asked fondly. "Reminiscing?"
     "Yes. I was thinking about my first day on the Enterprise.   You
know, right off the bat, I had quite a heavy conversation with Wesley
Crusher.  What's he up to these days?"
     "Studying.  With a Tau Seti that we met on one of our first missions.
You weren't with the Enterprise when we met him.  The two of them are in
DS9 territory, somewhere, I believe."
     "Back then, Wesley was so very concerned about being separated from
his mother.  She'd left the ship to head Starfleet Medical.  He wanted to
remain on the Enterprise, but he didn't want to hurt her with his
     "I don't think he needs to worry this time. She's doing very well on
her own without--any of us."
     "Oh." Guinan nodded sagely, but with her large, flat-topped hat
wobbling back and forth, the effect was slightly comic.  "Well, there's no
doubt that the doctor's a competent, professional woman.  She's managed
the current situation very well for her crew--and herself?"
     "Dr. Crusher's fine.  She's fully in charge of the medical department
here now, and she seems to know exactly what she wants to do when our
leave is over."
     He found himself drawn out by Guinan's thoughtful pose, her candid,
open  face across the table from him.
     "She's had enough of practical medicine.  Who can blame her?  The
dull routine of patient care aboard a starship, broken only by the most
horrible emergencies, the constant claims on her.  She's ready to give it
up for good now.  She'll be going back to research."
      "I think I understand," Guinan pushed her glass away.  "Anyway, I
know where I'm going, too--my quarters.  I was just about to leave," she
said.  "And you?"
     "Always glad to finish up this duty," he confided.
     "Let me walk you back to your cabin," she said, a twinkle in her
eyes. "With as many things as you've got on your mind, you might get lost
or led astray."
     They skipped the turbolift and strolled the long walkway along  the
outer rim of the Starbase, enclosed by floor-to-ceiling visipanels.  The
views were spectacular and gradually they fell silent until, as they
neared his quarters, she began to whistle.
     He had never known her to whistle.  When he turned to her, she smiled
pleasantly and kept it right up.  The sound was so odd and tuneless that
he didn't want to comment on it.  When they reached his rooms, she made a
deliberate end of the song, and as his door opened and the lights came on,
she spoke into the bright cabin. 
     "No lights."
     "No lights? Why not?" he asked.
     "An experiment. I need your opinion about something I heard one of
the crewmen say." She motioned him to step into the darkened room.
     Standing there together just over the threshold, she whistled a bar
or two of the song once again.
     "Did that sound any different to you?" she asked.
     He was mystified.  "Different? I don't understand."
     "Whistling in the dark.  Does it sound any different to you?"
     "Oh!"  He laughed with sudden insight.  "No, no.  You misunderstood. 
That's just an expression."
     "An expression?"
     "A Terran figure of speech," he explained.  " 'Whistling in the dark'
means pretending to be brave."  
     Her blank look prompted him to go on.
     "A human, a person, walking in the dark might be afraid--"
     "What's to be afraid of?"  she gestured into the innocent black air
around them.
     "No,  it's not necessarily the dark. It's a metaphor--"
     "Oh!" she exclaimed. "I understand.  The 'dark' means any unseeable,
unknown and thus scary situation."
     He nodded.  "Whistling, on the other hand --"
     "The future could be scary, for instance," she interrupted, "when
you're not really sure where you're going or what you want."
     "Yes," he said patiently, "and then the contrast with whistling,
which is a cheerful, carefree sort of thing --"
     "But that's a metaphor too, isn't it?  People could do other things
besides whistling."
     "Like telling everyone that they're fine and that they have their
lives all figured out and they know what they want and where they're going
from here."
     He stopped with his mouth slightly open.
     "Or being angry with people who are trying to help," she was emphatic
now.  "Yes, I remember how curt and hostile Wesley was, a few years later,
while he was trying to convince himself that Starfleet was what he wanted
most.  But all the time what he craved was some deeper connection to life
and the universe of possibilities that he was just a little afraid of
committing to."
     Picard gazed at Guinan for a long moment.
     "But at least his mother knows what she's doing," she concluded,
moving back though the threshold.
     "Guinan, wait," he said.  "When Wesley first met his mentor, the
Traveler, we were doing an experiment with the engines that propelled us
to the edge of the known universe.  It was a strange place where thoughts
and wishes were converted into physical existence--the sort of 'planes of
existence' that he's traveling in now.  I was thinking--it's in some ways
like the Nexus. Can you tell me," he asked her, "how did you contact me in
the Nexus?"
     "I've already told you.  We all leave a piece of ourselves there. 
There's a piece of your consciousness there as well."
     "I mean," he said intently, "HOW did you do it?  What did you do to
find me, to talk to me?"
     "That's kind of complicated, Jean-Luc," she said.
     "I want to contact Wesley."
     She mulled it over.  "Well, I suppose that  if we worked

     Wesley Crusher, physically on the other side of the quadrant at the
Federation/Cardassian border, was metaphysically on some other planet four
or five centuries earlier.  He had no idea how long he'd been traveling
there, experiencing the mysticism of their worship of the Great and
Powerful One, but this was the crowning moment.  He was in the temple
approaching the altar, about to receive the wisdom for which he had
traveled to this faraway land.
      The narrow nave led him forward along a row of opaque-glassed
windows.  Above him arched the achingly tall vaults of the temple; below
his feet, cool, smooth, seamless marble, and everywhere a soft green light
     Other supplicants walked timidly at his elbows:  a man in ragged
clothes; a furry, beast-like creature, a knight in an armored suit.
     And as they approached the end of the long aisle, there was suddenly
a terrible roar. Smoke billowed up and flames blossomed at either side of
the altar.  A voice like thunder spoke. 
     His companions fell to the floor cringing and cowering in fear. But
Wesley stepped forward.
     "It is I, Wesley Crusher--"
     "SILENCE!"  the voice bellowed.
     Wesley flinched.  Before him loomed an enormous disembodied face.  It
was a fearsome face.  It was an astounding face . It was the face of 
Captain Jean-Luc Picard.
     "WESLEY CRUSHER!" the massive presence intoned.
     "Yes?" said Wesley meekly. "Sir?"

du!gatech!swrinde!!!!!not-for-mail Sat Apr  6 23:11:39 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch6 part1
Date: 6 Apr 1996 22:08:02 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 276
Message-ID: <4k7bii$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the"Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne  Ciancia, and is
offered solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of
this work is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995
Chapter 6 "Lost and Found" Part 1

     The ancient streets of Draemos' capital city were a labyrinth, the
multitudes oppressive, Kirov edgy as a cat treading out on a limb.  
     "So why didn't the records show this residence?  Why didn't they even
indicate that Telam was married? What was he doing in that little hole,
cheating on the missus?
     Riker shook his head half in exasperation. "Sex is free and open
here, Lara.  No one would consider it cheating because the only rules on
the subject apply to women who can bear children."
     "Oh, great society!  As usual, women get the shaft."
     "Not entirely.  Women who can be mothers hold some high cards on
Draemos.  They own the property.  Men get to have families and social
position and economic power only as long as they behave and bring in the
credits.  Screw up and your mother-in-law can divorce the two of you and
give her and your kids to a better provider.  The state annuls the
marriage and clears the record to give the new guy a clean slate."
     "Very practical people," she said sarcastically.  "So how come you
know so much about the Suari?"
     "On the flagship, when we're not doing things as necessary and
sensible as what you and I are doing right now, we try to help people.  I
told you the Enterprise had a mission here four years ago. We were trying
to give technical aid to the Suari, but they wouldn't accept our
assistance.  They're strongly religious, and one of the tenets of their
faith forbids 'artificial' interference in procreation."
      "That's why they couldn't simply adopt standard medical practices to
increase fertility?"
     "Right. So they've continued to approach the problem legislatively
and economically by making it easy for fertile women to have many partners
and to profit from bearing children.   There are factions who aren't very
happy about the society that government policies are creating with respect
to people's family lives.  We were trying to mediate and to see if there
was some technical/medical solution that would be acceptable. 
Unfortunately, we weren't successful.... There it is," he said as they
turned the corner.   "The stone house at the the end."      
     The address they'd found on Telam's computer wasn't exactly a
mansion, but on Draemos, it might have passed for one--an ancient three
story residence at the end of a cul-de-sac.  
        A knock on the huge wooden door produced muffled scurryings
within, and then a very pregnant Suara appeared at the partially opened
     "We're friends of Telam," Lara announced.  The Suara eyed her
nervously.  A little face appeared behind her, clutching the folds of her
     "Telam isn't here." The Suara began to shut the door.  Riker leaned
over, casually, bringing his strength to bear on the closing panel.  It
stayed open.
     "I'm Nicholas Kirov's sister," Lara told her.  Her voice was soft and
reassuring.  "We just want to talk to you."
     The Suara looked beyond them into the street, on the look-out for
someone.  Then,  she abruptly stepped back and they slipped inside.
     "They took Telam away two days ago," the Suara said.  "Do  you  know
where  he is?"
     "With the Suari police," Lara answered.
     The woman was visibly relieved.  "We heard he had been turned over to
off-worlders." She reached for the child at her knee, picking her up and
settling her on her hip.  "They say there are Romulans at the station
now."  Meanwhile, two other children slightly older than the baby
appeared, smiling shyly at the visitors, and Lara could hear in the
background yet more high sweet voices.  When she thought about it, she had
seen only adult Suari on the streets.  
     "You're Telam's mate, aren't you?" Lara asked.
     "I was his mate of last season,"  the Suara answered hesitantly.
"Telam was to bring me credits.  For our child."
     "Telam needed money?  Is that why he took the job with my brother?"  
     "It was not his fault.  Freighting for the Romulan sector is slow
now.  I did not wish him to leave, but my mother insisted.  Telam was
going to look for new business to make more money to come back to us."  In
the awkward pause, the Suara seemed to rethink her actions.  Having
admitted them into her home may have been a mistake.
     "My mother is not in, and I do not know anything about Telam's
business.  You should see her--or him. Come back when they are here."
     Lara made a quick  decision. She shook her head as if  aggrieved. 
"Heyra, we're here because the security forces have told me that Telam
stole something from my brother."
     "Telam is no thief!" the Suara cried.  "He is a pilot, like the
others.  He has done nothing wrong.  He liked your brother.  He would
never take something that did not belong to him."
     "Well, perhaps he didn't," Lara soothed the distressed Suara.  She
sent an icy glance at Riker that he didn't immediately comprehend. 
"Perhaps it's all just a misunderstanding.  But my brother isn't here to
explain it, and his partners--" she nodded in Riker's direction "--are
very anxious to have this property returned."
     The Suara looked apprehensively at the tall muscular human by her
door. She clearly saw Riker as a menacing presence, and Lara decided it
was more motivating not to correct her impression.  Riker shot an angry
look at Kirov who returned in her steady gaze a strong warning to him to
say nothing.  Riker let out a breath that was close to pure steam and
walked back towards the entrance to watch the street traffic.
       "Heyr Nicky's partners are angry about this missing property?" the
Suara whispered fearfully. 
      "They need it back.  Perhaps my brother mistakenly sent it as a
gift.  Did Nicky send Telam a gift?"
     "Always there are gifts to seal the contract and gifts at the end. 
It is the custom," the Suara explained defensively.   "Heyr Nicky was most
generous, but-- he is gone now, and I have not seen Telam since he
     "He sent nothing upon his arrival back at the Station?"
     "Not to me, but perhaps he sent them to my mother.  He gave to her
the contract signing gifts.  In promise that there would be income. So
that he might be allowed to come back to me.  I have kept his things for
him," she said plaintively.  "I have kept a place for Telam in this house
though my mother would have it otherwise."
     "Can I see them?" It would be useless, she knew, to scan the house
with the tricorder.  There were too many high-tech objects that could set
it off.
     "Yes, I can show you these things, if you wish.  If it would help." 
The Suara gave her little daughter to one of the older children and led
Lara to another room off the main living area.
     Riker watched the teeming street which was beginning to clear as the
hour of meditation neared.  But just as the crowd noise outdoors began to
abate, there was another racket, or rather the same one again.  Once more,
on the floor above him someone was playing that godawful Suari
contemporary music.  This time the sound had the vaguely flat tone of a
bad recording, but the volume was thankfully a little lower.   Hadn't
anyone bothered to introduce this culture to jazz?  
     He glanced up in irritation just as the lilting voice called down to
     "Hello there. Who are you?"  
     The Suara who leaned over the the top of the staircase to stare down
on him was slim and bronze-skinned.  She had long straight black hair that
slipped over her shoulders like a dark waterfall.  Her pretty face wore a
pert expression.  Had she been a Terran, Riker would have guessed her age
at about fifteen.
     "I'm, uh, here on business with your--mother?"
     "Well," she said. "You don't look very busy."
     She began to descend the staircase translating every step into the
smooth rocking of her hips.  She was wearing a kind of sarong, black with
bright yellow and orange splashes, that draped over one shoulder and left
the other bare.  A chain around her neck plunged into well-developed
cleavage.  Her eyes were outlined in glimmering violet paint; her mouth in
extreme red.
     "Hi.  I'm Nyess," she said.
     "That's, uh . . . swell," he replied. And then remembering basic
etiquette, "I'm Will."
     "Hwill?" she repeated, pursing her lips over the sound. "That's a
different name...but then," she squinted at him, "you are different,
aren't you?"  Giggling, she reached out and plucked off the phony nose
bridge that his recent scuffle had apparently made apparent. 
     "Ah-ha! Terran!" she purred. "Like Heyr Nicky?"
     "You know Nicholas Kirov?" Riker rubbed his face and realized the
earring wasn't there anymore either.
     "I have met him, certainly, yes." 
     Riker smiled invitingly and she continued, "He came to the house to
hire Telam.  Grandmama agreed to let Telam meet Heyr Nicky here.  He does
not live with Mama anymore, but it is better for business to keep up
     "But how did you know Heyr Kirov was a Terran?"
     "We did not know for certain till later.  But I suspected it.  He
came looking like a Bajoran, but he did not act like one.  I could sense
that he was something else."
     "Really?  I didn't think that Suari were empathic."
     "As a race, no," she leaned back languidly draping her arms over the
bannister,  "but people tell me I am more empathic about men than most
Suara.  For instance, Heyr Hwill, I will bet with you that I can tell what
you're feeling right now."
     Riker grinned with playful amusement, right on his game. "Well, I've
been told I'm pretty simple to read.  Maybe you should test yourself with
a Suari."     
     "Huh!" she said saucily. "You don't have to be empathic to know
everything there is know about Suari men. They're drones. They think only
of their work, their position, their accomplishments.  As if that were the
way to love a woman!" She smoothed down the fabric clinging to her thighs.
 "Off-worlders are much more fun."
     "I thought Suara considered it highly desirable to have a man who can
provide for them."
     "But what do Suari provide?  Companionship? Understanding? Fun?  Not
Suari. They bargain with us--service for service.  Not for me, thank you. 
I hope I'm not fertile."
     Riker couldn't keep the surprise out of his face.  "Why would you
hope for such a thing?"
     "There will be no marriages to arrange and rearrange.  No perpetual
pregnancy.  No slavery to my own body such as my mother suffers!  And no
one like Telam!  No one to love like my mother loves Telam.  No one who is
gone perpetually if he succeeds and gone forever if he fails!"  The
vehemence subsided as quickly as it had appeared.  "As long as I am not
fertile, I can have fun.  I will not be made to marry. I will have only
fun -- to go to parties, and to dance and to make love." 
     "There's a life worth living," Riker said.
     The Suara didn't recognize irony any better than Data used to.  She
smiled broadly at him and asked,  "Do you like parties?"
     "Yeah, sure."
     "And do you like to dance?"
     Riker thought he'd better get off at this stop.  "I'm afraid I know
how to dance only to Terran music," he said.
     Her eyes lit up.  "Wonderful!  I have some Terran music in my room. 
Heyr Nicky sent me some music, but it will not play on my machine.  Maybe
you can help me."  
     Riker's ready excuse made a abrupt aboutface. "Maybe there is
something I could do to help," he said.
     She giggled and glanced around the corner, affecting a conspiracy
between them. "Don't let Mama see.  She does not trust off-worlders.  She
didn't want me to see Heyr Nicky either."
     In a single bedroom that would have been barely adequate as a closet,
Kirov was sifting through the Telam's possessions with the Suara looking
nervously on. 
     "Is this everything?" she asked defeatedly.
      Suddenly, Riker appeared in the doorway with a young Suara clinging
to him like a wet shirt.
      The older Suara glowered disapprovingly at her daughter.  "Come
here, Nyess!"
     The girl took a sullen step away from Riker but got nowhere near her
     "Lara," Riker said simply, "let me have your earring." 
     Kirov looked up from a pile of clothing and knickknacks.
     "Your earring."   
     "What do you want my earring for?" Lara asked.
     "I'm swapping your earring for her music programs,"  Riker replied.
The three women stared at him.
     "They don't play on her machine," he said, sounding very sensible, he
thought.  "It IS a Suari custom to exchange gifts, right?"
     Lara was confused, the Suara hesitant, and Nyess, in Riker's opinion,
concupiscent.  "But Heyr, the earring is latinum, no?" the Suara finally
said.  "Such jewelry is too great a gift to exchange for some recordings."

     Riker tossed into Kirov's lap the two music chips that wouldn't play
on the Suari machine. "But I'm satisfied.  Nyess is satisfied, right?"  
     Riker smiled at the girl who pouted and said in an undertone.  "You
promised to dance with me."  
     Heyra Telam Olim crossed her arms.  Riker ignored the hostile
interplay between mother and daughter.  "How 'bout you, Lara? Are you
     Kirov sat a moment staring at the isolinear optical pattern traced on
the polymer chips.      
     She looked up.  "Yes, fine, okay,"  she said evenly.   She removed
the Bajoran earring and handed it to the young Suara.  "It's the least we
can do for disturbing your family," she said. 
     The girl took it and slinked away.
     The mother's eyes followed her like crosshairs.
     Kirov turned to address Riker as well as Telam's mate.  "I'm afraid
that Suaran Security is mistaken.  None of this belongs to Nicky.  I'm
sorry, Heyra Telam.  I guess that what we've been looking for will turn up
somewhere else."
     Riker nodded and gave the Suara a little bow in taking his leave.  "I
wouldn't worry, Heyra.  I'm sure that once we get back to the Central
Station, they'll release your husband."
     The Suara showed them to the front door.  Nyess, lounging in an
overly casual pose in the foyer, melted away as her mother let them out. 
     "Pier 37," Sela's corporal announced proudly.  It had taken him some
time to access the Suari records, but it took no time for Sela to order
troops to the pier.  At the same time, four N'Suar monks were tracing the
Bajorans' path through District 1552.  As the five rik permit neared its
end, the Romulans had regrouped.

     No one, however, was paying any attention to the starrunner at Pier
Arm 32 whose crew was about to take care of the transshipping operation
for which they had come to Draemos.  With their transporter coupled to the
Suari Central system, they were about to move the contents of two
100-liter sealed containers --minus the containers -- to the yacht on Pier
Arm 37.
     "As soon as she signals, make the transport and run the substitute
data so that it looks like we transported holographic equipment instead of
this -- swill.   You're all set?"
     "I don't like this, love," came the response. "You're keeping me in
the dark.  I don't want to do this anymore.  Promise me this is the last
     "You know the only reason I agreed to this job was for us -- so that
we can be together.  Now, I have to get over to the Mateus to cover the
other transport.   You can get me off the freighter once she's on course
for Boccaro."  And then the apology and the kiss: "And I'm sorry, love, to
stick you with the clean-up." 
     The five rik permit had only half a rik to go.  

du!gatech!swrinde!!!!!not-for-mail Sat Apr  6 23:11:49 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch6 part2
Date: 6 Apr 1996 22:08:04 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 307
Message-ID: <4k7bik$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the"Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne  Ciancia, and is
offered solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of
this work is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995
Chapter 6 "Lost and Found" Part 1

     The Hour of Meditation had begun when Riker and Kirov emerged from
Telam's residence.  The streets that had bustled with life a quarter of an
hour ago were now deserted.
     Riker and Kirov spotted them as soon as they turned the corner--four
hooded N'Suari, too well-built to be monks, bearing down on them from an
overhead passageway, only about twenty meters away.
     "Go!" Riker shouted at Lara indicating the alleyway to their left. 
He slipped around the corner and took out his phaser as she darted away
down the darkened passage.
      Pebbles rained down on his head as the Romulan shot hit too high. 
He curled around the corner and fired, narrowly missing one of his
pursuers.  The Romulan, no longer wearing his hood, had crossed the small
square to the opposite side of the wall that Riker was using as a shield. 
Riker knew he had to abandon his position.
     He took off in a direction perpendicular to the way he'd sent Kirov,
toward the communications center and the getaway plan he'd argued for--a
shuttle that would lift them off the planet and hurtle them into warp to
make their rendezvous with the escape vessel.  The shuttle would proceed
under an automatic pilot program through a nearby asteroid field leading 
any pursuers on a wild goose chase -- just like the chase he would lead
these hunters to keep them away from Lara.   He hoped she would do as he'd
told her -- go immediately and not wait for him if they were separated.
     Disruptor fire streaked over his shoulder as he darted abruptly to
the right,  diving behind a fountain in one of the little squares.  Water
showered down between him and his pursuers,  water that would distort his
vision of the advancing Romulans.  But it would also work the other way
     Looking carefully into the fountain, one of the Romulans thought and
then was sure he could see the blue of his quarry's jacket on the left
side of the central fountain spout.  He fired and saw a flutter as the
beam struck and the blue figure fell to the ground.  He rushed forward  to
claim the kill -- and ran right into the line of Riker's phaser.
     Riker didn't stop to reclaim from the ruined plaster the blasted
jacket he'd hung on the fountain statuary.  He just ran.
     In the next street he dodged into an open doorway and looked back. 
The three remaining Romulans thundering after him also took cover, but one
was just a little too slow.  The phaser took him down in a short burst as
the other Romulan used the moment to advance toward the doorway.
     Riker climbed the stairs to the upper level of the building he had
entered.  At the top of the stairs he encountered a locked door and an
open portal that led to a balcony above the street.   Below him the
Romulans were creeping up on the doorway.  Riker took aim and fired. 
Another of his pursuers hit the ground.  He ducked below the solid balcony
wall and moved to the end as return fire took out a section of the balcony
wall where he had just been. 
     The far end of the walkway was a dead end.  The  balcony rail curled
around the wall of the building another meter or so to a barred window,
but the walkway itself did not.  The flat roof of the building next door
was about two meters down and a meter and a half away.  A jump looked like
the only way.  He got up on the rail.  Turning quickly at the sound of
footsteps on the stairs behind him, he missed with his phaser shot.  The
Romulan ducked back, and the disruptor beam streaked toward Riker. 
     The Romulan heard a sharp cry.  He glanced quickly from the portal,
to see that the balcony was empty.  He charged out to the end and looked
down.  The roof below was also empty.  He was confused.  Where was the
blasted human?  He could not have disappeared off the roof so quickly
unless he'd fallen into the dark alley below.  The Romulan figured he'd
better go down and check.
     Turning,  he glanced to his right.  He was conscious just long enough
to see Riker smile at him from where he was--hanging onto the barred
window for support, perched on the decorative bit of railing that
continued along the building wall.
     Once his last pursuer had sunk to the balcony floor, Riker braced
himself on the ornate window trimmings and hoisted himself to the roof. 
He could see to the northeast, just a few blocks more, the modern
communications center.  The shuttle was still on the roof pad.  He wasn't
sure what to think of that, but he had to get there to find out.  He
climbed down the opposite side of the building using the jutting stonework
of the corner.  Once in the street, he headed northeast.

     Riker crept into the communications center through a maintenance
area, in case there were any more Romulan surveillance units covering
possible departure points.  It was highly unlikely, but some intuition was
making him exceptionally wary.  For the same reason, he avoided the
turbolift to the roof and began to climb the ladders in the emergency
service tubes.  He had just passed an open access hatch when he felt the
hand on his ankle.
     Kirov slipped through the opening and sat down on the ledge kicking
her feet into the deep shaft.
     "What's going on?" he growled at her.  "I told you not to wait."
     "And I told you that if you let the regular operatives here provide
the escape you'd be sorry.  There are five Romulans one floor above us
waiting at the shuttle dock."
     Despite the fact that he believed her, he found it hard to credit. 
It would have been only the most incredible clumsiness on the part of the
regular Intelligence operatives on Draemos to tip the Romulans to this
plan.  Therefore, it could only have been deliberate.
     The service shaft was suddenly brighter.  The hatch on the deck above
them had opened.  Reaching for a rung was a boot, a Romulan boot.
     Kirov rapped Riker sharply, springing back through the hatch she'd
appeared in.
     Riker dove in after her.  
     The  descending turbolift was just opening on their level, and two
startled Ferengi barely had time to exit as Kirov and Riker barreled in. 
The door closed and Lara punched the emergency down controls.
     At the ground level, the turbolift opened onto a short hallway. They
glanced quickly to left and right. 
     "This way," Kirov pulled at his arm.
     They turned the corner, and stopped short on the edge of a vast
expanse of floor space, the lobby of the communication center.  It was
still nearly deserted due to the dusk meditation.  No Romulans were in
     But as they started across the floor, a bell began to toll, and Suari
began to emerge from the side rooms at every door, filling the vast cavern
of the lobby.  The Hour of Prayer had come to a close with the setting of
Suar, the yellow sun of Draemos.  In another five minutes, the streets
would be crowded again.  In another ten minutes, it would be dark.
     Walking quickly, but not running, Riker and Kirov started toward the
doors on the far side. 
     "Smile," said Riker.  "We're almost there."
     A commotion erupted behind them.  She turned toward the noise.  The
Romulans who were on the roof had just disembarked the turbolift and were
beginning to push toward them through the thronging Suari. 
     Riker had already grabbed her hand for a sprint to the doors of the
departure terminal when a pair of burly Romulan sergeants appeared,
entering by those very doors. Riker pulled up abruptly, looking in each
direction, calculating the odds.  The Romulans behind them, looking over
the heads of the shorter Suari, smiled and fanned out slightly, closing
     Riker took Kirov by the elbow and began to walk toward the two by the
doors, who had not yet seen them, listening behind him, watching them like
predators ready for the kill.  "Look," he said urgently, "I'm going to
make a break for the doors.  As soon as I move, follow right behind me.
I'll take both of them down with me. You just make sure you get past--"
     "No, Will, " she said.  Her hand moved against his chest.  "We're
leaving now-- together--my way."
     He looked down and saw that she had pinned the transporter badge to
his shirt. She dropped one of the ILOC's on the floor, slammed her heel on
it, and skittered the pieces into a floor grate.
     The Romulans behind them pushed through the crowd like sharks cutting
through surf, regardless of the commotion they were making.
     She slapped his badge activating it at the same time as she hit her

     Thousands of kilometers above them, the Phaethon's transporter system
came on line.  The phase transition coils in the ceiling glowed and the
dematerialization cycle initialized for a point on the planet's surface.

     "Lara, you can't do this!" he yelled. "The ion field--"
     "Hold still," she snapped.  "It'll take a minute."
     The Romulans were gaining ground.
     There was no transport beam.
     The Romulans were closing in.
     "We're getting out of here!" He snatched at the  transporter badge.
     "STAND STILL!" she shouted.     
     And then a hollow ringing sounded in his ears, and Riker froze in the
grip of the annular confinement beam, but it was like slow motion.  He
could almost feel himself suspended in the matrix, beginning to
disintegrate, right in front of the Romulan sergeant who watched in
astonishment as his quarry vanished before him.
      In the Romulans' suite on Central Station, the sergeant's voice on
the comm system dripped like nervous sweat.  "Commander," he gulped,
"they're gone."
     "Gone?" Sela snapped.  "What do you mean 'gone'?"
     "They disappeared.  Transported."
     All right. The humans had gotten away from the ground team.  They
still had the arrivals platform on the Central Station well covered.  She
signaled the squad assigned there. 
     "Lieutenant, did you copy that?" Sela inquired.
     "Yes, Commander," the lieutenant responded.  "We are in position to
apprehend them as soon as they step off the platform."
     "Commander Sela," the sergeant's voice broke in, "They didn't get to
the departures terminal.  They transported off the floor in front of us! 
     "You can't do that," the corporal whispered in awe.  "The ion field
will shred you!" 
       With apprehension she signaled the group on Pier 37 who were still
outside the yacht.  "Break the airlock, if you have to."
     "I'm afraid we won't have to, Commander. The Suari are here."
     The five rik permit was up, and the Suari had strict docking
     The dockworkers mistakenly presumed that since the Romulans were
there, the Romulans must own the ship.  Did they think that locking it
down was going to get them any more time on their permit? 
     The Romulans said they didn't own it.  
     Well, if they didn't own it, what did the Romulans want here?
       Then the Romulans told them that they had leased it.  
     Well, rather than splitting hairs, could they input the code for the
airlock and get their ship the hell underway? 
     Ah, but that was the problem, you see, no one could remember the
code.  The controller would have to release it with the master code.
     The Suari controller was a little put out. They didn't need anyone
jerking them around just now because they were a trifle busy.  Although
they were not about to admit it, there was an incredible uproar over a
report that some tourists had tried to transport off the surface on their
own.  They were still checking things out.  No one knew, but this was the
second irregular incident this month.  The first had been covered up with
the prayer that it was just a fluke. Stuff like this was not supposed to
     Eventually the Suari remembered their basic business politick:  the
customer, however annoying, is always right.  They apologized to the
Romulans for the time it had taken to get into the ship.  Then of course,
they wanted to know who was going to pay the 1000-credit parking ticket?
     Once aboard the yacht, the Romulan lieutenant's quick sweep with his
scanner informed him that the only life forms aboard the Phaethon were the
members of his own squad.  Yet the sensing device was reading a heavy
concentration of organic compounds coming from the chamber that housed the
yacht's transporter.  As the lieutenant opened the door, a slimy wave
broke over his feet.
     The guard who had followed him was staring down at the pool they were
standing in.  And the horrified Suari behind him began to retch.

     Of course, the Romulan squad searched the yacht thoroughly.  It
didn't take long.  Visual inspection revealed the same thing the sensors
had told them: if there were any human life aboard the Phaethon, it had
regressed to the primordial ooze that human beings had been some billions
of years ago. 
     The lieutenant prepared to transport back and make his report to
Commander Sela.  She was going to be very disappointed. But as far as he
was concerned, he had found the two Federati.  They were nothing but a
puddle on the floor.  
     He knew he should take a sample of the gelatinous liquid back for
analysis, but he was damned if he was going to get it.  They could send a
bio-technician for it--and somebody to clean up the mess.
     As he marched back down the halls of the Central Station, he wondered
if he would ever lose that squishy feeling in his boots.

     About half an hour later, a Metlari cleaner arrived and cheerfully
put the puddle into three 100-liter containers, making sure, before
disposing of it according to Suari religious customs, that Commander Sela
got the requested sample.

     Riker and Kirov materialized with a meter and a half of thin air
under their feet.  They fell, onto the top of a pile of insulation fiber
in the cargo hold of a freighter decoupling at Pier 2 about 1000 meters
from the Romulan suite.
     Kirov bounded up, ready to fight, her phaser gripped in her right
hand and her left still clutching the single ILOC.  She quickly slipped
the polymer sliver into her shirt and reached for her tricorder to take
readings even as she struggled to keep balance in the soft shreds.
     Ten seconds--no sign of additional transporter beams.  
     Thirty seconds--yet she waited, phaser clicked up to level 8.
     Fifty seconds--she could hear the engines kick into warp drive as the
vessel cleared the boundaries of the Suari transfer yard and raised its
     Home free!  
      All of their atoms had wound up perfectly reintegrated in the cargo
bay of the freighter Mateus, just as Lara's team had directed it. The
Mateus, under Ebisian registry, was bound for Bocarro, Sygra II, and
points beyond, one of which was along the Federation border--Anaxagorus.
     Lara backed up a single step and was up-ended again falling over
Riker, who had kept down, facing the other way, as per assignment,
protecting her back.   He twisted, ready to fire on his attacker as she
shouted, "Don't shoot!" 
      They began to roll down the mountain of insulation fibers, tumbling
into one another, making a continuous crash landing till they reached a
plateau in  the pile.
     Lara emerged with insulation clinging to every part of her.  She spit
the synthetic fibers out.  "Damn," she laughed. "They missed the relative
altitude coordinate."
     Riker was propped on his elbows, half covered with insulation.  From
the look on his face, she couldn't tell what emotion reigned in him:
surprise, anger, relief, or exasperation.
       His mouth opened, but for a moment, the words would not come out. 
     "What the hell happened?!"
     "Will!" she panted, struggling for balance on a surface that would
not support her.  "We did it!"
     "Did WHAT?"
     "I've got it!"  She held out the ILOC and the light played over its
surface, shimmering iridescence showing a pattern of optical data. 
     "What is this?  Where are we?"
     "I'll explain it all later,"  she laughed.  "Look!  I've got it!" She
bounced the ILOC on his nose.
     He gripped her wrist.  "You are the most
     "Listen, you--" She fell against him, her momentum sending them both
tumbling down the soft tufts.  "I'm telling you, WE DID IT!"
     She threw a handful of the "feathers" at him, laughing, entirely
     His voice was bending toward self-parody.
     "--self-satisfied, smug little--"
     She pounced on him.  And he had to smile because they HAD done it. 
They were lucky to be getting out alive, and yet they had grabbed the
brass ring.  There she was with the Romulan chip, and here he sat feeling
like a cocktail whipped up in the replicator.  And they had feathers all
over them.
     "--absolutely crazy--"
     "Absolutely!"  And she pressed her lips to his and kissed him.  And
he felt in her kiss the triumph, the joy, the release of escaping to laugh
and breathe and live and kiss again.  The chip slipped back into her
pocket as the two of them slid down the pile of fibers, sinking into a
deeper kiss.  And he found himself responding to her jubilation.  
     Bodies entwined, they toppled over again and again, lips meeting
hungrily, ever more urgently, until at last he broke away.
     "Wait," he said, "There's just one thing...."
     "What?" Her fair skin already glowed with heat, and her voice was
throaty and breathless.
     He smiled.  "Whose turn is it to command?"
     She laughed and stretched out in the bed of soft fibers in open-armed
surrender, eagerly anticipating his mandates.

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Mon Apr  8 00:05:42 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW Ch 8 Part 1
Date: 7 Apr 1996 17:20:19 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 224
Message-ID: <4k9bij$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A.Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 7 "The Rift" Part 1

       It had been a smooth trip to the Bohren Rift for the passengers of
the UFP Raritan.  If Mr.Worf had been anxious about chaperoning a school
trip with four preadolescent boys bouncing around in the back of a new
Starbase runabout, it was wasted psychic energy.   He'd reckoned without
Ms. Vuork.
      Even before they reached the Rift, she had gathered the study group
around a table in the aft cabin and gotten down to business, giving them
some background literature to read and discuss.  
      The class noted that the Rift had been discovered some sixty years
ago by Captain T.J. Bohren of the UFP Sunchaser who described its jagged
lines, shimmering in a preternaturally dark void, as "the slit iris of a
rattlesnake."   For over thirty years, since the establishment of the
Anaxagorus Outpost, which could be dimly seen just light-minutes away,
scientists had come to study the Rift.  It was one of the most thoroughly
discussed and dissected phenomena within the Federation. 
      Once they got close, Ms. Vuork concluded their talk with the order
to get out their padds, and she  set up a terminal for them to read out
the database that they would collect with various sensor sweeps of the
Rift.  Then she gave them the problem.  
      "We will be dropping six sensor-equipped beacons in a octahedral
pattern around the mouth of the Rift.  We are now beginning a compass
point tour through that area.  We have approximately one hour to collect
enough data to discover how a temporal anomaly near Qo'noS, similar to
this one, gave the eminent Klingon physicist, Kolari, the idea for her
famous technological breakthrough.  We will also discover the general
principles upon which this technology operates,"  she said.  "I will then
expect your presentation on the phenomenon we observed.  You may divide
the work as you wish, but the group must reach a consensus on the solution
and each member must be prepared to present a portion of your conclusion. 
I'll be back in ten minutes to hear how you've decided to organize the
team and answer any questions about the assignment." 
      Heads came together in a huddle as Ariel left to join her pilot in
the forward compartment. 
      The front viewports showed the Rift dead ahead.  Radiation seeping
from the narrow, oblong hole spun out in long thin tendrils along the
barrier.  Within the crack, nebula-like gases foamed and smoked while the
opening undulated spasmodically like the mouth of lunatic muttering
apocalyptic prophesies.  If it weren't so familiar from its picture in
nearly every astronomy textbook, it would have been one sinister hunk of
      Ariel set the chronometer for an automated reminder at ten minutes'
time.  She sat down in the co-pilot's seat and looked over at Worf who
manned the helm.
      "Here's the pattern for the placement of the beacons."  She hit the
holo-imager which displayed a three-dimensional diamond shape, like two
pyramids base to base, with the beacons on five points.  The rift lay just
beyond the perimeter, centered on the line between the tips of the
pyramids.  "Let me know when we reach the coordinates for the placement of
each of the beacons, and I will deploy them from the aft station," she
instructed Worf.   "We lay the first four in the horizontal plane parallel
to the Rift line, and then we rise to mark 90 and drop to 270 for the last
      Worf raised an eyebrow at her.  "You intend to perform a magic act?"
      "Well," her eyes sparkled, "you have to take into account the
audience."  She pointed in at the cabin where the boys were deep in
negotiation. "It's all new to them."
      Worf smiled inwardly as she sat down abreast of him.  He knew the
trick.  From each sensor beacon they put out, the Raritan would be
continuously monitored until they began the "downward" course to lay the
last one.  Then, as they passed through the center plane of the
octahedron, they would gradually disappear from sensor view as the wave
stream from the Rift became strong enough to curl the feedback wave around
them. It was a good experiment--a far better way of learning about
cloaking technology than poring over a text explanation.  They would
actually cloak the Raritan, however briefly, using the curved light
technique that the Klingons had developed into a usable technology.
      As he piloted to the first compass point, he considered his son's
temporary teacher.  It was just as Deanna had told him; children sometimes
accepted from someone else what they rejected from their parents. 
Alexander was finally ready to explore more fully the three quarters of
him that was Klingon, but his chosen mentor was someone who had no spot of
Klingon blood in her!  Ariel Vuork was only beginning to study Klingons
herself.  Still, he couldn't discount her abilities entirely.
        Ariel watched Lt. Cdr. Worf maintain his impassive surveillance of
the runabout's control panel, not speaking to her or even acknowledging
her presence.  She did not consider it impolite.  Klingons did not make
small talk.  One spoke if he required something.  After all, the standard
Klingon greeting was, "What do you want?" She was considering what
information she wanted and how to ask for it. Though she claimed her
Terran half over the Vulcan, she couldn't deny that the Vulcan part was
soothed and easy in the silence. The Terran part was incomprehensibly
skittish with the lack of conversation.  
      He stopped examining the console and looked up at her. Their eyes
met for a moment. It was clear that there was an agenda to be discussed on
both sides.  He began.
      "I am curious how Alexander came to be part of your group."
      "Well, the first day, I introduced myself to the class--like,  'Hi,
everyone. I'm Ms. Vuork, and I'm a Klingon,' and of course, they all
laughed, but I insisted on it very seriously.  I explained to them why I
felt I could be what I wanted. Then I asked everyone to identify
themselves, and no one knew quite what to say.  And in this silence,
Alexander stood up and said, 'My name is Alexander, and I was going to say
that I'm a Terran, but I think I'm really an Alexandrian,'  and after that
we had quite a discussion about identity--biology and upbringing and
individualism and social cohesion.  In the end, I thanked Alexander for
starting the discussion. I think I told him something like 'good answers
often lead to even better questions.'  And then he showed up the next day
when we formed the Klingon Studies Group. "
      It was her turn to ask a question.  The Vulcan knew what she wanted,
but the Terran urged her to stall. She bailed out.
      "Did you really like our ballet?"  
      He regarded her as if he did not quite believe the question.
      Neither did she.  STUPID! she shouted at herself.  Not only was the
question a pathetic stand-in for what she'd really wanted to ask, it 
implied that he had lied to her the other night when he said he'd
approved!  The Klingon code of honor permitted (encouraged)  lying for
reasons of strategy, but polite social lies?  They were beneath contempt. 
      "Interesting subject material," he said blandly.  "New to me."
      Despite her having blundered onto the subject, his response
surprised and interested her.
       "The Arthurian legend is a standard piece of literature on Earth. 
I thought you said you were brought up on Earth."
      "I had Terran foster parents.  But I was brought up on an off-world
colony and dedicated myself to learning the Klingon culture. If this
legend was taught to me, I do not remember it."      
      "I thought everyone would be familiar with it.  That's why I
suggested it.  And it's one of my favorites, even with the unhappy ending,
which we didn't include."
      "That might be more Klingon," he said judiciously.  "What happens?"
      "King Arthur marries Guinevere and establishes the Knights of the
Round Table with the greatest knight who ever lived, Lancelot.  Then,
Lancelot falls in love with Guinevere, but he cannot betray his friend and
his king.  Guinevere reveres and cherishes Arthur, but she feels great
passion for Lancelot.  And the king knows of their feelings, but he cannot
give up his love for his queen or his regard for his loyal friend.  And so
it brings down the whole court.  A romantic triangle and a classic
      He frowned.  His comment: "Human."
      "Well -- yes.  Do you mean to say there are no stories like this in
Klingon folk literature?
      "In this tale, as in many Terran stories, women are property.  This
is not true of Klingons,"  he intoned solemnly.  "This Guinevere places
her warriors in an untenable position. If she had been Klingon, she would
have chosen one or the other and put an end to it." 
      "It's been a long time since women were property on Earth, but a lot
of mating behavior is genetically prescribed.  A species is predisposed by
its biology to certain practices.  I suppose even after centuries of
gender equality, when it comes to mating, Terrans, at least subliminally,
still expect the male to lead."      
      "In our culture, it is the woman who chooses her mate."
      So how do things work out for a Klingon amongst Terrans? she asked
herself.  He waits for a woman to move in on him, and she waits for him to
make the move on her?  K'Ehleyr, if she were Terran, must have overcome
her reticence.  Perhaps that was instructive for Ariel Vuork.
       "Then tell me about Alexander's mother," she said.  Abrupt. 
Direct.  Logical enough by Vulcan standards, brazen by Terran etiquette,
and utterly Klingon.
      He remained occupied by the navigational heading, the engine output.
      "To what purpose?" he asked.
      "Alexander wishes to speak of her."  The child was very Terran in
most of his social dealings, but somewhere he had learned that Klingons do
not burden others with their sorrows or their doubts.  "He needs my
'permission' to speak of her.  I need yours to listen."  
      He looked at her then.  His eyes were like the Rift, a slit in
space, ragged and full of the unexplainable.  "K'Ehleyr is dead." he said.
"She died with honor, in my arms, before the eyes of her son." 
      Not two minutes ago, she had been blithely discussing tragedy. 
      "I'm sorry for Alexander and for you Worf," she said softly.  It
didn't matter to her that a Vulcan would not feel it and a Klingon would
not say it.  Even if she had not been Terran also, she would have chosen
their openly expressed compassion.
      He made no response to her sympathies but a slight inclination of
his head.  "Her murderer was slain by my own hands.  Her death was
avenged.  Honor has been served."  
      Ariel waited, but there was no further comment. So she continued,
now picking up the formality of Klingon syntax, though rendered in Terran
standard. "It is not his mother's death, but her life that Alexander seeks
to understand."
      His gaze returned to the panel.  "That is nothing I understand
      "She was a Terran?"
      "Half... and half Klingon."  
      There was a great deal in those four words.   "You have raised
Alexander alone?"  
      "My foster parents helped at first.  However, they returned him to
me.... Many times I have thought that one parent is not enough.  Alexander
needs a mother as well as a father."
      "That is always desirable, but I do not believe Alexander is
suffering particularly for lack of a female parent.  I think he just wants
to talk about K'Ehleyr, but for whatever reason, he is reticent about
discussing her with you."
      There was a long silence.
      I can see why the child hesitates,  she thought.  Then once again
she was all business, all Klingon. "What would you have me do, Worf, when
Alexander broaches the subject? Shall I hear him?"
      "If my son wishes to speak of his mother, you may hear him."  
      Once again there was a steady look between them, not completely at
ease but not uncomfortable either. Two people honoring each other's
intentions in spite of the different demands of their cultures.  All it
needed was willingness, regard, a little understanding.
       The chronometer chimed.  She excused herself and went aft to tend
to her duties.
      Worf sat alone again and turned back to the placement of the
beacons--a simple task, so routine that it was hard to keep his mind from
      ...And he thought about K'Ehleyr and how they had first met.  He had
disapproved of her flaunting her human heritage over her Klingon nature. 
He had demurred her advances.  But it was her hot Klingon blood that
chosen him and prevailed upon him.  Blood called to blood, merging at
last.  It had been her cool Terran independence that later refused to take
the vow....  But she had come back to him with their son.  And then she
had left him forever.  
      And now he was involved with Deanna--despite the improbability of
the whole business. He had tried to comprehend what her Betazoid nature
required.  He knew he had acted correctly and honorably for a Klingon; he
had offered himself, declared his consent before his desired mate.  He had
even observed the human code of honor with respect to Commander Riker, and
his rival had left the arena.  But he did not know how to proceed from
here. What was he supposed to do? What did he want to do?
       And he thought about Ariel Vuork and wondered if it were just for
Alexander that she had asked about K'Ehleyr.  

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Mon Apr  8 00:05:48 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW Ch 7 part 2
Date: 7 Apr 1996 17:22:30 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 258
Message-ID: <4k9bmm$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A.Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 7 "The Rift" Part 2

     The placement of the beacons was accomplished according to plan. 
Worf listened to the instruction and the discussion in the background as
each sensor sent back its data, orderly confirmations and calculations
until the last swing toward the maw of the Rift.  Then suddenly from the
aft cabin, his son's excited voice.
     "Look! We're disappearing!"
     Then the excitement, the scurry of rechecking, and the increased
pitch and pace of speculation on their miraculous vanishing.
     "Quick, get the wave frequency!"
     "What's our bearing?"
     "You have to calculate it in relation to the rift plane."
     "I'm tracking it.  We're closing on ninety percent!"
     "We're cloaked!"
    .Then, he heard Ariel give instructions for working out the base
equations and for the presentation of their conclusions, and then her
footsteps approached the cockpit.
     Their delight was still reflected in her face.
     "MajQa'!" she told him, grinning.
     "Qay'be'" he responded. 
     She felt well-rewarded by an expression that  probably came as close
to a smile as Mr. Worf ever got.
     "We can start picking up the beacons in a few minutes," she said. 
"What's the best way to proceed do you think?  Just reverse the pattern?"
     He ran a finger over the star map.  "If we rise to the center point
of the octahedron, we should be able to tractor in all of the beacons from
that single position."      
     "Good idea.  And then, I'd like to pull away slowly along this line, 
so they can see how the Kolari wave peters out.  After we're clear, we can
go to warp."
     Worf nodded and began to swing the craft gently around. For a split
second, the helm felt a little vague.  Then, suddenly, red warning lights
flashed all over the panel and the entire ship staggered and lurched out
of control. 
     Ariel was thrown against the bulkhead and fell to the floor.  Worf
was pitched forward into the helm as the Raritan flipped over completely
before it righted itself again. It felt as though the ship had been
swatted by a gigantic hand.   With the monitors still blinking red and the
emergency klaxon blaring they were hit again laterally.  The ship spun out
sharply.  Worf was hanging onto the console, half thrown out of the
pilot's chair onto the floor where Ariel had landed and was now struggling
to rise with the ship spinning dizzily, the stabilizers unable to
compensate, if they were still operational at all. 
     As their revolutions slowed, Worf strained to see the screens above
him.  Navigation was out completely.  The engines had gone into an
automatic emergency shutdown.  Stabilizers were fluctuating wildly. The
artificial gravity had bumped itself up an atmosphere, which was why it
was suddenly a lot more difficult to right himself.  But as he regained
his place,  the readouts on the console were not what alarmed him.  As the
rotation of the view slowed in the front windows, the Rift appeared in
ever increasing proportion, as though the black face were leaning forward
to let its twisted mouth mutter into their ears.  They were falling into
the anomaly.
     "Ariel!" he called to her.
     She had pulled herself up by the emergency ladder beside the door
jam.  "I have to get to the kids!"
     He nodded, teeth clenched, and began reset procedures while the Rift
continued to creep up on them.   
     Ariel found her charges plastered to the floor in the back cabin.  At
the sight of them, her own fears vanished in concern that they might be
hurt. She quickly made a check of each one and helped them into an easier
position as she felt the artificial gravity being stabilized.  Thank
goodness for the flexibility of young bodies; there were no broken bones;
only a few bumps and one bad scrape where Phamos' arm had dragged across
something abrasive.  They were badly frightened, though.
     "What's happening?" Alexander asked.
     "Are we breached?" Jared squeaked. "We're not breached, are we?"
     "No, of course not," she soothed. "We're going to be fine."
     "The engines are off!"
     "Oh, no, not again," Jared moaned.
     "We're going to crash?!  Like on the Enterprise?!"
     "No!  We're going to get settled here, and then we'll--"
     "Look!" It was Phamo pointing at the window. "Look! It's the Rift! 
The Rift is sucking us in!"      
     "It's all right.  See, the gravity's leveling off.  We'll be okay.
Just stay down." She tried to settle Rieses on the floor.
     "No, Ms. Vuork!  I wanna get out of here!"
     "It's going to  get us!  We're going to fall into the Rift!"     
     Suddenly there was a full-blooded Klingon warrior standing in the
     "Bljath'e'ylmev!" he barked.  They all fell silent.  Apparently they
knew that much Klingon.  Worf scowled at all of them and decided that he
need not teach them any of the epithets that properly accompanied the
command to be quiet.
     "You wish to be like Klingons?"  he growled at them.  "Then you will
stop this sniveling and follow your orders! " He nodded at Ariel, as
speechless as the kids.  "You will come with me.  The rest will remain
here quietly!" He turned on his heel and strode back into the cockpit with
Ms. Vuork following.
     "What happened?"  she asked once they were out of earshot.
     Worf scowled at the panels.  "I do not know yet what caused this
     The boards once again looked normal to her. "Are we okay now?"
     "All systems except propulsion are still operational," he told her. 
"The engines have undergone an emergency shut down."
     "You can restart them, can't you?"
     "Yes, but there is a problem with the relay engaging the nacelles. 
We will have to repair it."  
     "Can you signal Anaxagorus for help?"
     "We are still cloaked," he reminded her, "and so close to the Rift
that it would jam any communication. We will have to effect repairs
     He jerked his head at the window.  "Our momentum is augmented by the
gravimetric attraction of the Rift.  We do not have much time." 
     His grave words sank in as she looked out into space that seemed
darker than black. The Rift seemed to be circling them, stalking.   
     "Tell me what you want me to do," she said.

     She sat at the aft bulkhead where a removed panel exposed the
circuitry for the portside nacelle.  It was unfortunate that there was no
other compartment to move the children to or anyone else to stay with
them.  They had crept ever closer to her as she and Worf yelled back and
forth to one another, but so far, the kids had kept absolutely silent, not
even daring to speak to one another.
     She looked over at Rieses, the youngest, staring out the window in
horrified fascination.
     "Rieses," she said.  "Come here and hold this for me."  She held out
the tricorder.
        "Sit on this side," she instructed as he came to her.  Her body
would obstruct his view out the window.
     It was important to keep calm and show confidence, if only for the
sake of the children, but it was not all play acting.  She found she did
have confidence in Worf and in herself.  They'd get the drive engaged. 
They had to.  The worry in back of her mind was not knowing what had
caused the sudden malfunction: whether there was a problem with the
runabout, whether they had encountered some previously unrecorded Rift
phenomenon, or whether it was an unknown something else that could hit
them again even if they did get the engines going.
       Stop it, she warned herself.  She was trained to think ahead, but
there were enough problems at hand.
     "Give me a reading, Rieses," she said.  
     She was glad for the science courses she had picked up at school.
Being able to do something made the situation seem more controllable. 
Even holding a tricorder  helped Rieses.  She glanced over at the others. 

     Jared was whispering to Alexander. The two were sitting next to one
another against one of the heavy table trestles. 
     "'s taking too long... "  
     Ariel maintained her bland countenance.  One inheritance she had
gotten from her father was the keener hearing of Vulcans.  Phamo, sitting
nearby and watching her and Rieses work, seemed not to have heard. 
     "The Rift attraction is weak but we're picking up speed." Jared
showed Alexander something on his padd.  "We're only about eighty
kilometers out.  The nacelles need ten minutes to recycle.  We have
another fifteen minutes. After that,  we won't make it."
     Alexander looked as stern as his father had.  "My dad will know that.
 He'll get it on time."
      Worf was shouting directions again.  "Switch to line AX-7 on my
     "Okay." Ariel snapped back to the open circuitry board.
     "Do it . . . NOW!"
     Ariel lasered the connection.  There was a loud whine and
     Rieses' hand trembled on the tricorder. Jared and Alexander looked at
each other and Jared turned off his padd.
     "The Rift's getting closer." Phamo's voice was very tiny and very
     "That's not your stuff all over the floor there, is it Phamo?"  Ariel
     "Sorry," he said and he began on hands and knees to collect the
scattered items that had flown all over when the craft had flipped.
     "That's good.  Thanks," she said.  For the first time in nearly three
weeks she was delighted that Markanians had such a thing about neatness. 
Meanwhile, Ariel scooted over to Alexander and Jared and gave them a
facetious grimace.
     "Oh boy," she said.  "Looks like we're going to cut it close again!
Just like the deadline for your reports!"  She got a nervous smile back
from the two of them.  "We'll get away from the Rift though, even if we do
get close enough to touch it.  There's something I want you guys to figure
for me, okay?  Suppose this were an atmospheric ship?  What are the other
factors that the crew would be considering?" 
     "How many parachutes they packed," Alexander answered gruffly.
     She deserved that.  It was crazy--treating the situation like they
were all back in the classroom working on some kind of physics problem. It
insulted them.  They knew the threat.            "What's a parachute?"
Jared said, gamely trying to keep up the line of conversation.  
      "It's a foil," Alexander raised his hand and cupped it, "that
catches the resistance of the atmospheric gases--" his other hand moved
toward his curved palm imitating the air stream.
     "Alexander!" All of a sudden, Ms. Vuork grabbed him violently by the
shoulders.  She planted a kiss square on his brow ridge, jumped up, and
headed into the cockpit.
     Worf was wedged between the seat and the lower navigation console
probing with a photon liner.
       "You said that all systems but propulsion were operational?" she
asked him excitedly. "Shields too?"
     He frowned up at her, but he nodded.  
     "The Kolari wave has been slipstreaming by us, too weak to counter
the gravitational attraction.  But if we can reconfigure the shields as a
big flat sheet under us, they'll catch the energy from the slipstream and
float us out!"
     "You should bend the sheet a little--like a kite," a voice said
behind her.
     Alexander and the entire Klingon Studies Group was standing in the
     Worf's look appraised them, and then he zeroed on her. "We need the
time.  You can do it?"
     "We can," she replied.
     "Do it."
     The Klingon Studies Group dashed out to their stations even as she
called them to order.  "Come on guys.  Everybody at the terminals, now! 
You're going to cross check my computation.  No mistakes."

     When the engines finally engaged, the Raritan was floating on a bent
energy shield about 300 kilometers from the Rift horizon.  Worf extracted
himself from the cramped space on the floor and sank into the pilot's seat
while a cheer broke out from the back.  It was followed by a triumphal
howl, very authentically Klingon, if a little high pitched.  He got up
again, stretched, and walked aft.  Out of sight in the dimmed cockpit, he
observed the action in the main cabin, the teacher and her troops shouting
and jumping and hugging and thumping one another on the back.
     Like Klingons at their meat.
     He reached the lighted doorway, and they all froze the minute they
saw him.
     "You have done well," he said gravely, and he turned to resume his
station in front.  But not before Alexander pounced on him, clasping his
father around the waist with a hug, and Worf's hand, resting on his son's
shoulder, gave a discreet squeeze--not quite authentically Klingon.
     "We will put in at Anaxagorus.  It is only a short distance away, and
our chief engineer is there now assisting in project relocation," Worf
told Ariel when she was once again in the co-pilot's chair beside him,
when the Rift was a considerably smaller, safer sneer, well behind them.
     "Good," she agreed. "I would feel safer checking out the engine
systems before we head back to the Starbase."  She paused to listen to the
tone of conversation from the kids in back.  Weariness was all it sounded
like, but she didn't want to leave them alone for too long.  "Worf, you
have no idea what happened?"
     The brooding quality of his concentration might have intimidated
someone else, but to Ariel it bespoke strength and dependability.
     "I do not believe the cause was a malfunction of the runabout."
     "The Rift has been studied for thirty years, and there's never been a
report of anything like this."
     "Our best course then is to check in at Anaxagorus and make certain."
 He, too, seemed to be listening to the voices behind him.  "A full
diagnostic on the engines can take several hours.  We could arrange for
quarters on Anaxagorus overnight and return to the Starbase in the
     She considered the idea a moment. "I've taken overnight field trips
before, but the rest of the parents are going to be worried enough when I
call in.  I think I'd prefer to get back tonight, even if it is a little
     He nodded his understanding and laid in the course to Anaxagorus.
       Yes, it would be best to return tonight, she thought to herself,
but she continued to consider his suggestion, and she couldn't help
wishing that it might not be only for caution's sake that he'd suggested

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Tue Apr  9 08:09:21 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW the Real CH8 part 1
Date: 8 Apr 1996 22:30:07 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 286
Message-ID: <4kci3f$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 8 "LaForgery"  Part 1

        Anaxagorus was the middle one of three outposts that had been
established along the imaginary line marking the end of Federation space
in sector Epsilon Psi.  The aged Federation science outpost sat in a kind
of stellar gateway equidistant from two nearly identical dwarf stars.  
The gateway created, or perhaps just contained, the Bohren Rift.  The
station had been located there to study the Rift's unusual phenomena.  
        Its sister stations had always been more favored.  Archimedes, at
the far end of the line, was closest to the border with "unclaimed" space,
and it had always been well kept up as a listening post and fleet dock.  
Heraclides at the other end, well past the new Starbase, bordered the
space belonging to several non-aligned systems like the Suari, and it
consequently served as the diplomatic center.  Anaxagorus, home to the
science projects, was the middle child in more ways than one.
         From a distance, Anaxagorus Station resembled two cones sharing a
common horizontal base.  Closer up, the traveler could see that the base
was actually a ring with a hollow center, the classical "doughnut" shaped
space station.  Three structural braces along the top of the doughnut
projected upward, and came together in a spherical chamber at the point. 
This was where the reactors that powered the station were housed.  An
identical three arms below the station ended in a shuttle/transport/cargo
bay.  The doughnut itself housed laboratories, quarters for the
scientists, and common facilities.  Not esthetically pleasing, Geordi
LaForge had thought when he'd gotten his first sight of it , but he had to
admit it was sound, if utilitarian, engineering.
        The interior was equally depressing to the already depressed
former chief engineer of the UFP Enterprise.  Anaxagorus knew it was
becoming a derelict, and unlike the expectant emptiness of the new
Starbase, the vacant areas of the station had a lonely and abandoned
        LaForge had checked in with the Chief of Operations, Lieutenant
Duncan McNeil, who was, surprisingly, the ranking officer on the outpost. 
As Geordi sat in McNeil's office, not the official station office in the
doughnut, but a little cluttered cubbyhole off the reactor pods at the top
of the station,  McNeil explained that the most recent Station Commandant
had been transferred, and due to delays, she'd had to leave before the
official closing.  No new one was to be appointed. In LaForge's opinion,
Rear Admiral Christopher must really be distracted to have two
installations without official commanders operating in the same sector
even for just that short a time.  But then, Heraclides and Archimedes were
well-staffed and the admiral, technically in charge of the new Starbase
had, in Jean-Luc Picard, a temporary commander who was over-qualified to
command a not-yet-operational site.  
        McNeil, a junior officer, should not have been left on his own
even on a facility that was closing down.  However, he hadn't near the
workload that had been dropped on Picard.  As a matter of fact, with most
of the projects closed for transfer to the new starbase, his workload had
already been dropped on Picard. 
        "I appreciate your coming over to lend a hand, sir,"  McNeil had
said to LaForge,  "but I'm not sure there's anything here that requires
your level of expertise . . ." He squirmed a little in his chair,
uncomfortable at the disparities in rank and position that the situation
had handed him.  "There really isn't a heck of a lot going on right now."
        And so as LaForge headed for the quarters that McNeil had offered
him,  it seemed Anaxagorus was just what he figured--another dead end. 
Anything they found for him to do here would be make-work, a fake, a sham,
a --LaForgery.  Well,  he could hang around a day or two, take the shuttle
out to look at the Rift for his own diversion, and then he could head on
back to the new Starbase.  At least there he had friends, even if some of
them were a little preoccupied with themselves at the moment.     
        Unlike the Chief Engineer, most of Geordi's buddies from the
Enterprise's Engineering department were married or at least significantly
attached.  Maybe it was the crash, but suddenly, they all seemed to have
discovered they had families.  Where they used to be available at all
hours, puttering around with weird ideas in the experimental lab or having
coffee or playing chess or just hanging out together, now they were
sticking close to home.  He supposed that was understandable.  
        Several of the ensigns had literally gone home--to their native
planets--as soon as they'd heard about the three week limbo, despite the
fact that most of the three weeks would be taken up by travel to and fro. 
One had told him that the subspace comchannels just weren't enough when
your family considered what could have happened in the crash.  Her idea of
getting in touch with her parents involved actual touching.  Geordi
understood that very well.  He had just seen his family recently--when his
mother's ship, the Hera, had been lost.  It had been very hard on them
all.  He didn't want to burden his father and sister with the job of
comforting him.
        And so when his plea to work with the salvage teams on the
Enterprise had been turned down, Geordi hung around a couple of days on
the Starbase, and then he went to Anaxagorus to be alone.  He felt alone
in the midst of the bustling Starbase anyway.  
        But what bothered Geordi most was Data, his best friend.  Data
probably didn't have a clue what was happening around him on account of
what was happening inside him.  The emotion chip that Geordi had installed
in Data's neural net didn't come with a manual.  Human beings learned how
to handle their emotions over years of observation and practice, but here
was the android, trying to master the entire experience overnight as
though it were the principles of quantum mechanics or the rules of
Metonian geometry.  Data had wanted to be like the rest of his friends,
but the very thing he thought would make him like everyone else had
actually caused him to retreat from people, at least till he worked out a
first emotion--how to feel a little more secure.   Well, Geordi understood
that, too.   But where in the expanding universe was somebody who
understood him?  He wanted somebody to understand that he needed to work,
to be needed, to be useful  --and to be so occupied with being useful that
he didn't have to think about how he had been used.
        He shoved the thought aside as roughly as he shifted his bag to
his other shoulder.  He didn't want to think about the little transmitter
that had been planted in his VISOR, the device that had allowed the Duras
sisters to read the Enterprise's shield frequency and to batter the ship
until she'd been unable to escape disaster.  Even though it wasn't his
fault, even though the renegade Klingons had been paid back in spades, he
felt a need to expiate his part in the crash.  And they wouldn't even let
him help bury his poor downed starbird.  He marched a little faster, his
footfalls a little heavier, down the curving hallway toward his temporary
        Two Zakdorns were making their way through the same corridor in
the opposite direction.  Aside from McNeil, the ensign who conducted him
to McNeil's office, and a Benzite, who was probably one of the
researchers, these two were the only people Geordi had seen on the entire
base.  The Zakdorns bustled along with their characteristic hunched-over,
fists-at-chest walk that reminded LaForge of a long-ago visit to a Terran
region called Texas.  His father had pointed out from the window of their
rover a low dusty mound covered with holes out of which scurried dozens of
small furry animals-- rodents of some kind--prairie dogs!
        One of the Zakdorns was talking away furiously, speaking Standard
in a kind of yattling accent that sounded to LaForge just like prairie
dogs chipping away.         As they got closer, the bigger one with the
red hair stopped talking and slowed down, although his partner went right
on without him, seemingly oblivious to the other's distraction.  
        Wonder what his problem is, LaForge thought.  And then he realized
that the Zakdorn was looking at him.  The alien craned his neck and picked
up his head and wrinkled his nose in a sniffing gesture -- just like a
prairie dog.
        "I say there, young man!"  The red-haired one marched up and
positioned himself directly in Geordi's path so that LaForge would have
had to cut around him or else bump into the little fellow.   Then the
Zakdorn stepped right up to LaForge's chest and, standing on tiptoe,
peered into his VISOR.  
        "A very interesting fashion!  Yes, very curious indeed!"  
        Geordi backed away from the cratered moon in his vision that was
the Zakdorn's nose.  But then there loomed the pylon of the Zakdorn's
index finger.  For a second, LaForge thought the guy was going to try to
spread the sensory fins on his VISOR like a set of Venetian blinds.
        "Extremely stylish!  I do say, extremely!  But the question is--" 
 the gawker continued, "--can you SEE anything with them on?"
        "Can't see anything WITHOUT them on," La Forge answered retreating
a step.
        "Morojan, will you stop pestering this officer!"   The dark one
had turned back and was tugging at his partner's sleeve.
        "I want to know where he got it." The bigger one detached his
droopy sleeve from his friend's fist and turned back to LaForge.  "Can you
get one at the gift shop?" 
        "Gift shop!  What gift shop?" the other began to wave his hands
excitedly. "What are you talking about?  This is Anaxagorus!  We are at
the research center!  We're not on some Deep Space promenade, you know!"
        "I know where we are!  Where are they selling them?" the fashion
maven nagged at La Forge.
        "Daystrom Institute," Geordi advised him. "But it's pretty
expensive, and you have to be blind to get one."
        "Oh my goodness!"  he said.  "You're--wait a minute!  You wouldn't
happen to be Lieutenant Commander Geordi LaForge?"
        Geordi LaForge was not exactly accustomed to being recognized like
some sort of stellar celebrity.  He shook hands with good humor, however
and responded, "And you would happen be--?" 
        "Morojon,"  the Zakdorn was now pumping his hand as though he
expected water to start flowing out of LaForge's chin.  "Professor Morojon
of the Zakdorn Academy of Sciences."  He nodded at his partner who stood
there frowning.  "And this is my associate,  Professor Azedine."
        Azedine sniffed and took a single pull at LaForge's hand.  "How do
you do."
        "Fine," La Forge responded, "But, uh, have we met somewhere before
that I'm not remembering?"
        "No, no, not physically, no,"  Professor Morojon said,  "But we
are, of course, familiar with you though your work."
        "My work?" LaForge asked.
        "But this is so fortunate!"  Morojon enthused.  "This is a fine
bit of luck, don't you think, Azedine?  To be on station at the same time
as Mr. LaForge.  We must do something to welcome him on board.  You'll
have a drink with us, once you're settled in, sir?"  He turned to Azedine.
 "They do have a lounge here?"  
        Azedine huffed another sigh of exasperation.  "Mr. LaForge, once
you have found your lodging and set down your bags, you must allow us to
buy you a drink." He seemed to offer the invitation as an apology for his
friend's forward behavior.
        "We would be honored," Morojon effused.
        "Sure," La Forge said.  "Why not?"  How could you disappoint fans?

         Later that day, over a round of exotic Pacifica cocktails that
the ebullient Professor Morojon ordered for them, LaForge learned that
there had never been a time, at least in recent memory, when Anaxagorus
Station hadn't been slated to close down.  Not only the Starfleet
officers, but the civilian scientists on the Station had wildly erratic
schedules due to the expectation of closing orders that were always just
about to arrive.
        The two Zakdorn physicists were studying Kolari radiation on a
grant from Starfleet.  They had arrived for a two-week stint just ahead of
him.  This was the sixth time Professors Azedine and Morojon were
returning to Anaxagorus Station to continue their work.  They had taken
some time off, nearly two months, to complete a different project  in
exchange for which they were supposed to get an extended stretch at
Anaxagorus.  This time they discovered that the closing was being taken
seriously, and that many of their fellow researchers had already moved to
the very much larger and more trafficked Starbase. 
        "Ill be headed back there, probably the day after tomorrow,"
LaForge told them, "so, if you want to come along and scout out the new
facilities, I'd be glad to take you along."
        "I'm afraid we won't have time for that.  Indeed not!" Morojon
replied, "With so many researchers already gone, we have practically the
exclusive use of the whole station here.  We'll never get a better
opportunity to test the application of my theory, not with all the
competing projects at the Starbase."
        "Particularly not with the current politics," Azedine grumbled. 
        "But it is a shame, Mr. LaForge, that we shall have to say goodbye
to you so soon."
        "Well, there's really nothing here for me to do."
        "Nothing for you to do?  But we could certainly use your help with
our project!"  Morojon exclaimed, and then remembering himself, he
proceeded a-la-Azedine, " That is, we would like to invite you to
collaborate with us, if you think you would be interested."
        LaForge thought for a moment.  "Well, I wasn't intending to stay
long, but there really aren't any other claims on me.  What exactly are
you working on?"
        "We're looking at a way to use polarized Kolari waves to detect
cloaked vessels," Morojon explained.  "Your work with the interphase cloak
might give us some new insights."  
        That raised an eyebrow.  "Information about the interphase cloak
is classified," Geordi told them.  For that matter, the very fact that he
had once installed one on the Enterprise was not exactly in the public
        "Yes, of course," Azedine put in quickly.  "We would not be
looking for you to replicate that technology in any way.  We merely
thought it might give a fresh approach to our technology.  In any case, we
are not attempting to create a cloak, but rather to undo one."
        "We understand your hesitation," Morojon conciliated. "Anything
having to do with cloaking gets the evil eye politically since the
Pressman scandal.  Everyone wants to avoid the appearance of impropriety. 
We've been held up continually by new protocols designed to make sure that
there are no secret illegal goings-on."
        "I know exactly what you mean about the protocols," La Forge
commented.  "I'm here avoiding the appearance of impropriety myself."   He
sipped his cocktail thoughtfully.  "Theoretically, I suppose you could use
a polarized beam to detect a cloak, but the vessel would have to be
virtually standing still.  As soon as it moved, you'd lose it. "
        "Yes, precisely. Even though conditions are limited, it is a first
step.  We intend to test in the Rift if we can finally finish adjustments
to our polarizer.  We could certainly use the services of a practical
        La Forge smiled, "Let me just call back to the Starbase first
thing tomorrow and make sure that they can spare me for a few days."

        He expected Glennis Mallory not to have developed a pressing need
for him, but he didn't expect to have his non-essential status rubbed in
when he checked with Data in the morning.
        "Very interesting," Data told him.  "I feel a definite antipathy
for your offer to pass up the Kolari project so as to return here and help
me.  In fact, I do not want your help at all.  I feel much better working
alone on the holographic environments, Geordi."
        "Oh."  (You're welcome, I'm sure.)
        "I have installed nearly one hundred scenarios from just Terran
history and literature, and I intend to experience emotional situations in
every one of them,"  Data reported to him.   "I have been working very
hard to understand my feelings so as to be better able to respond to my
human friends."
        "That's great, Data."  ("And how are you feeling, Geordi?")  "So,
when do you figure that   will be?"
        "What will be?"
        "The point when you can better respond to your human friends."
        "Oh.  I have no completion date as yet, but I believe that I am
making excellent progress."
        "Well, keep up the good work, Data." (Yeah, excellent progress.)
        LaForge said goodbye and went down to the Kolari project
laboratory in a gloomy cloud.  Morojon picked up on LaForge's mood
        "Good morning....  Something wrong, Geordi?"  
        "Ahh, no.  Really, nothing important."
        Morojon measured the depth of LaForge's frown and then said, "I 
suppose they require you back at the Starbase.  A good engineer is always
in demand."
        "Actually, I seem to have some free time," Geordi replied, putting
on a more cheerful face. "If you need an engineer, I'm on."
        "Wonderful!" Morojon applauded.  Azedine even smiled.


news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Tue Apr  9 08:09:26 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW Ch 8 part 2
Date: 8 Apr 1996 22:30:56 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 261
Message-ID: <4kci50$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

 Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 8 "LaForgery"  Part 2

      And so they'd gone to work, and in a week, Geordi found himself
caught up in the task.  An easy camaraderie developed between him and the
Zakdorn scientists.  They had their idiosyncrasies, but then, engineers
were an idiosyncratic lot.  He knew he was really a part of the project
when they began to squabble with him in the same good natured way they
went at each other.
        "That won't work at all!" Morojon exclaimed.
        "Yes, it will," LaForge insisted.
        "Too short a wavelength."
        "Did you try it?
        "No . . . but I have it on good authority."
        "Ha!" La Forge pounced.  "Hearsay!  Who's your authority? 
Daystrom? Cochrane?"
        Geordi's mouth dropped open. "Dr. Leah Brahms?  She contributed to
this project?"
        "No, no, her husband, Dr. George Brahms,"  Azedine broke in. "But
he didn't contribute much."
        Morojon wrinkled his nose.  "Dr. Lullaby, we called him.  So
boring, he put you right to sleep.  His wife was absolutely right to
suggest that he get out of propulsion design. No thrust in him at all," he
giggled. "But he had no business in quantum mechanics either."
        LaForge was following every word attentively.
        "It was a bad idea," Azedine said decisively.  "But I suppose it
was better for them not to be working in the same field."  
        "It was professional jealousy, plain and simple, you know that,
'Dine.  He couldn't stand her preeminence in engine design.  Do you know
what I think --?" 
        Azedine waved a finger as he walked back to his terminal.  "You
know what I think about your deplorable love of gossip."         
        Morojon turned to LaForge. "Did you know the Brahmses?" 
        "Uh, I met, um, Mrs. Brahms... once."
        "A lovely woman. She often--"         
        Unfortunately for Geordi,  the intercom chirped, and McNeil's
voice interrupted, informing Professor Azedine that there was a message
for him at OPS.  Azedine didn't ask why it couldn't be piped down, but
frowned thoughtfully at Morojon and left without comment.  Morojon
remained silent and sidetracked after Azedine's exit, and LaForge wondered
how he could start the conversation again without seeming too interested.
        "Don't you think working in the same field is an advantage for
married people? "
        "Most of the time, yes,"  Morojon answered absently. "Will you
call up those frequency graphs again?" He looked them over quietly but
then, after a minute or so, his natural loquacity returned, if more
pensive. "If two researchers don't share the same field, it takes some
effort to work things out.  Azedine and I have had such struggles."
        "I beg your pardon?"
        "Well,"  Morojon looked around to make sure Azedine was still
gone, "Azedine is not much interested in Kolari waves.  His specialty is
digitally encoded transformational matrices, which frankly, doesn't much
excite me, but we assist each other.  Some months we do one; other months,
the other."
        It struck him as such an odd arrangement for two scientists that
LaForge momentarily lost his original intention in the dialogue.  "But,
Morojon, to give up working in your own field half the time--?  That must
be a tremendous sacrifice for you--for both of you!"
        "Sacrifice?  Not really.  After all, we're partners."  He smiled
fondly in the direction that Azedine had departed.
        LaForge consciously welded his mouth closed, surprised that not
until this moment had he realized what Morojon meant by "partners."
        Morojon sat down and set the graphs in his lap.  "You know,
sacrifice sounds to me like some ritual you perform for a god.  I don't
know what gods you hold, Mr. LaForge, but the God we Zakdorns believe in
does not demand that we sacrifice each other upon an altar of work.  He
loves us and wants us to share that love with our fellow creatures.  I
think our God would be displeased by my leaving Azedine just because I
could further my own career more efficiently without him, but perhaps
humans are different.  Your partner has a different career?"
        "I'm not married...but I guess my parents were a good example.  I
mean, my mom and dad often got different postings because she was Command
and he was Science.  It was tough on us kids those times when they
couldn't manage a joint assignment.  We'd stay with her part time and him
the rest.  Sometimes we'd complain about how unfair it was to us, but, now
I think about it,  it was probably even tougher for them.  I guess we
didn't much look at it from their point of view...maybe because they
always seemed to be very happy about having each other--despite the
separations. . . "
        Morojon inclined his head toward Geordi, listening to the change
in his tone.  "But now?"
        "Well . . .  we lost my mom last year.  Her ship just...
disappeared.  No trace, no explanation.  Nothing.  One minute I was
sitting in Engineering and everything was the way it always was, and the
next minute, the whole universe changed.  But the most awful thing
was--there was nothing I could do about it.  No matter what I did, there
was no way I could solve the problem,"  LaForge concluded. 
        "And even now, you are still trying to solve it?"
        "I thought I was over the sense of being orphaned, but somehow,
losing our ship, having the Enterprise go, too . . .  seems to have
brought it all up again," Geordi sighed.  "I'm sorry, I really don't know
why I'm unloading all this on you."
        Morojon smiled kindly. "Sometimes it's easier to be open with a
stranger,  someone who's not involved.  But if you don't mind a bit of
unsolicited advice: there's a price when it becomes a habit.   Pretty
soon, you're not involved with the people you think you are.  Now, you
take Leah and George, for example.  We heard things from both of them that
I bet never got talked out between them.  And look at them now--they're
        If Geordi had been swimming in unknown waters of his soul until
now, they suddenly got deeper.
        "You're not imposing on me to tell me what's on your mind, Geordi,
but perhaps there are other people who ought by rights to hear it. " 
Morojon straightened up and pointed out a variation on one of the graphs.
"Now then, if we could get back to work,  that's exactly what I meant
about the wavelength--"
        Azedine reappeared with a tight expression.  "Bad news.  I'm
afraid we've been called away again."
        "Oh, no!   Not now!" Morojon wailed.
        "There's nothing to be done about it.  Orders from Starfleet.  It
seems that we are required to report progress to our project supervisor. 
We shall have to be gone for a couple of days." Azedine looked as
regretful as if he were the one responsible.
        "You mean they want you to go see them?" LaForge asked.  "Why
don't they come out here and look at what you're doing?"
        Azedine shrugged.  "Who knows.  That's just the way it's done." 
He looked at his distressed partner. "I'm sorry,  'Jon," he said.  "We
leave tonight at 18:00 on the Palomar."
        Morojon was definitely irritated.  "All right.  We can get back by
        "If we're lucky and transport works out, the day after tomorrow." 
        "You're not taking your shuttlecraft?"  La Forge asked.  "If it
would be any easier, I could pilot for you."
        "Oh, no, no, no," Morojon protested, "It's just as well this way."
          I'll start the packing," Azedine said already moving through the
        "What's going on?" LaForge asked Morojon.
        "I'm sorry, Geordi. Just some of those protocols I mentioned,"
Morojon shook his head.  "It was really kind of you to throw in with us. 
You've helped a lot."
        "What?  Am I dismissed?  If I can't pilot for you, fine, but the
project's not done.  You don't want me to leave now, do you?  We're real
close to a solution here."                
           "Well, of course, you're welcome to continue here while we're
gone, but I thought that perhaps, in light of what we were discussing,
you'd want to be getting home."  
        LaForge cast about for an answer and finally he said, "I
understand what you mean, but I think I'm not really working with
strangers here, and I'd like to see this thing through to the end."
        Morojon patted his shoulder. "Thank you."

        La Forge was working in the laboratory two days later when McNeil
strode in, padd in hand and stopped short just inside the door.
         "Hey, Mac," he greeted the young lieutenant.  "Guess what you're
looking at."
        McNeil circled an apparatus that resembled a very much enlarged
ray gun from a twentieth century Buck Rogers comic book.
        "This is it?"
        "It is.  A Kolari wave polarizer.  The first and only one of its
kind,"  La Forge announced grandly.
        "Whew!  Looks like you could bend an orbit with that thing."
        "Point me toward the Rift. It's ready to show its stuff. Can you
have it moved onto the Station runabout?"
        "Yeah, sure.  Glad it's finally done.  Not a moment too soon,
either," McNeil responded waving the padd at him. "It sounds like they're
really serious about closing down this time -- which puts me in kind of a
        LaForge put down his tools. "Yeah? How's that."
        "I'm supposed to be getting people out of here, not taking on any
more.  The ensigns just docked a runabout from the Starbase.  The
passengers want to see you."  He stepped aside. "Here they come now."
        "Worf!" LaForge exclaimed, clambering out from under the apparatus
to greet the burly Klingon who appeared in the doorway with a considerable
party in tow -- four kids and a tall Vulcan-looking woman.   "What brings
you out here?"
        "An accident," Worf growled.
        The woman masked a smile. "We'll reclassify it as serendipity,
seeing as how I get to meet you, Mr LaForge. I'm Ariel Vuork." The woman
extended her hand as the kids charged past her down to the floor of the
laboratory to admire the polarizer.
        "Don't even think of touching that!"  she yelled and started after
         LaForge smiled tolerantly as Worf looked up at the ceiling.

        They had dinner together, but LaForge could not prevail upon them
to remain overnight.  He found a faulty stabilizer in the runabout right
away, and although it didn't seem like enough to account for their rough
and tumble ride, there was nothing else wrong.  The teacher was anxious to
get the children home, despite the lateness of the hour, so he advised
that they have someone go over the ship's logs when they got back.  
        "I called Data to see what he thought," La Forge sighed as he saw
them off.  It had been a one-sided conversation again.  "I don't even know
if anybody at the Starbase will be able to look into it real soon.  The
captain has Data finishing the holodecks and then working on a negotiation
with Counselor Troi, and now I've been asked to put in some time on a
problem Admiral Christopher handed him.  All of a sudden, I'm in big
        LaForge spoke as though chaffed, but Worf suspected the opposite
was the case.  "What is the Admiral's problem?"
        "Well, it's confidential, but I guess I can tell you the gist of
it if I leave out where it happened.  Two people just got lost in a
transporter mishap.  They tried to beam up to their vessel in a situation
that shouldn't have been possible to begin with. So, the officials pull
the logs on the transporter and the data scares them to death, because
they found the same pattern  in the logs only a week or two before.  The
first time it happened, there was only some minuscule property involved,
but now it's come back, they think it's some kind of software bug, or
possibly sabotage."
        "Sounds like quite a job," Ariel commented.
        "It is.  I wish Data were available right away to help."
        "You know who you should ask?"  McNeil said with a spark. 
"Professor Azedine!  That's his line, you know.  We had a problem with the
transporter once here.  We didn't lose anybody or anything.  The system
was just running real slow.  We were lucky Azedine was here at the time. 
He looked at the program and did something that solved it just like that.
I'm sure he'd take a look at this glitch for you.  They're due in tomorrow
        "It's too bad you won't get to meet them.  They're great guys,"
LaForge said, wondering just what Worf would have made of the two Zakdorn
scientists.  But indeed, he wished Worf's group were staying.  For at
least a few hours the desolate outpost had seemed a little like the
Enterprise -- noisy, busy, alive.  Well, LaForge thought, after the
good-byes, he could get started on the Suari's transporter problem.  It
would keep his mind occupied.          

        "Well, I'm sorry we missed your friends." Morojon said as Azedine
peered down at LaForge's screen.
        "Me, too.  You'd have gotten a kick out of Worf." Geordi traced a
finger over some data and returned to his explanation of the oddity.
        "The logs indicate a transport cycle, but it's a diagnostic run. 
So how did it transport anything?  And notice the prolonged time
        "Yes, I see," Azedine said flatly.
        "And the weird thing is that part of it looks really familiar,"
LaForge went on.  "A year or two ago, the Enterprise discovered a
shipwreck on the surface of a Dyson Sphere  --"
        "I recall the report," Morojon interjected.
        "--and we found a survivor, Captain Montgomery Scott who had
jury-rigged a transporter to keep himself and a crewmate in a kind of
suspended animation.  This piece of the log looks exactly like what
Captain Scott did.  But the rest of it is just--strange." 
        "You think maybe it's a virus?" McNeil wondered aloud.
        "I doubt it," said Azedine. "It hasn't recurred, has it?"
        "Not since this time, but even twice is too big a coincidence. 
That's what's got them worried.  They don't need any ghosts hanging around
in their system."
        "This should be kept confidential," Azedine said.  "Even the rumor
that they've got problems could send business for a nose-dive." 
        Geordi pulled at his lip, still engrossed in the problem.  "It
really doesn't look like a glitch.  You know what it looks like?  It looks
like somebody input the program manually and really screwed it up."
        "Probably the same person who does project reporting protocols," 
Azedine said. 
        "Oh, geez, I'm sorry!  I forgot to ask you," Geordi said, 
"--how'd it go with the report?"
        "Fine.  Why don't you take a break?  Walk us down and we'll tell
you all about it over breakfast,"  the usually taciturn Zakdorn invited.
        LaForge threw a glance back at the transporter logs.  He stood up.
 "This stuff drives me crazy.  It's kind of like a puzzle -- addictive. 
We'll have to hit it again later."
        But later, the puzzle was set aside for different concerns.  The
Suari freighter Mateus arrived at Anaxagorus Station.

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Tue Apr  9 22:35:07 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW Ch 9 part 1
Date: 9 Apr 1996 22:14:55 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 363
Message-ID: <4kf5iv$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 9: "Seduction" Part 1

            Riker woke to a diffuse grey light in the cabin, the simulated
dawn aboard a space vessel. He stretched out, and remembering where he
was, he rolled over and drowsed again.  To linger in bed was a luxurious
impulse infrequently indulged.  Growing up in Alaska, he'd developed the
long-standing habit of rising early.  Prolonged darkness for the winter
half of the year followed by the midnight suns of summer had nearly
drummed out of him the natural circadian rhythms of his species.  And
besides, his father's notions of discipline had totally drummed out of him
any propensity to sleep in.  Even before the Academy,  Riker had been
thoroughly conditioned for the life he'd led as a starship officer, the
constant duties of the workday in the perpetual night of space. 
            As the Enterprise's First Officer, Riker might have given
himself an easier schedule than he'd had coming up through the ranks, but
he believed in setting an example.  And in spite of the rigorous work load
he gave himself, he had awakened each morning enthusiastic, expectant,
eager for the day ahead, the next adventure.  He wondered how many men
were lucky enough to feel that way about their work.  
            But today, he was just a passenger on the Ebisian freighter
Mateus and there was no Enterprise.  There was no next adventure to get up
for.  The freighter had made two ports before this one, and his stop,
Starbase 191, was still one ahead.  But then, Lara would be getting off
here, at Anaxagorus.  
            He lay in bed half awake and felt the wrinkles in the sheets
underneath him, the soft blanket over his naked skin, the empty place
where Lara had lain next to him.  How many men counted themselves lucky to
wake up alone?
            Not that he always went to sleep alone.  He could have traded
on his position there as well.  Riker was certainly aware that being the
second in command of the Enterprise increased his desirability to women
generally, but, the practicality was that it decreased his field of play. 

            Fellow officers were the natural company from which to pick
possible partners, but dating subordinates could be very tricky.
Technically, every Starfleet officer on board, save the Captain and Dr.
Crusher, was under his supervisory control.  Personal and professional
interests could easily conflict when two officers, lovers, were serving on
the same ship.
            The hierarchy of Starfleet was not a problem with civilians,
but civilians tended not to understand the demands of the job.  And
civilians very often had expectations for the relationship beyond the time
that they would be aboard the vessel, as though the First Officer would
naturally be getting off at their stop, too.  Opportunities with transient
passengers, people he'd met on planets they'd visited, other temporary
liaisons, were often restricted by the nature of the mission the
Enterprise might be on. 
             Still he'd probably bagged his limit--a lousy way to put it,
but maybe the truth.   His position seemed to lock him into serial
relationships with a prescribed end.  Fellow officers got transferred,
civilians' tenure ran out, the Enterprise was always off to somebody
else's planet.  But it had suited him.  He made sure his partners
understood that they were only playing, because he already knew the great
love of his life and that, of course, was his work. He surely wasn't going
to lie to anyone that his work didn't come First.  Surely not.   
            But his options were closing and would be even more closed as
he advanced--unless he fancied himself the kind of captain who chased
ensigns around his conference table.  Not likely.  He'd come out of the
academy figuring he'd cut a swath right to the top--like James T. Kirk,
the famed captain of the Constitution class Enterprise.  But now when he
considered his ideal captain, he had Kirk's heart, but he also had a lot
of Picard in him, except not soxwhat?  Solitary? Removed? Picard had gone
seven years before he'd felt comfortable enough to join his senior staff
at their poker game. Riker wanted more than poker company in his life,
even though scaling the heights of command filled most of his time.  The
top of the peak was a magnificent but pretty lonely place unless you had
somebody with you to share the view.  Had he come at last to the stage
where he was ready to establish something permanent only to discover that
his time had winged on by?   
            The crash had finalized a number things for him: hopes and
expectations blithely assumed had fallen before an unanticipated fate.
Decisions long postponed had been made,  and things that he had counted on
would now never be.  A different future loomed ahead.            
            He surfaced from those hazy thoughts as cool fingers massaged
his shoulders.  
            "It's time to get up so you can wish me good-bye and good
riddance,"  she said. "We're almost there. Anaxagorus is in the windows
            "How do you know?  There are no windows in this cabin." His
voice was muffled by the pillows.
            "That's right.  I asked for one without a view.  I didn't want
any distractions."  He felt the breath of Lara's whisper along the nape of
his neck.  Giggling, she inched the sheet down his back.  
            He reached around and pulled her down next to him.  She
grabbed his wrists and pretended to wrestle with him, like a young animal
at play.  He pinned her with gentleness that required a deliberate effort,
and then he released her, reflecting that she incited in him an
aggressiveness that had lain dormant a long time.  Their turns at command
had certainly ranked among his wilder nights. He leaned down over her,
kissed her lightly and shifted away.  
            But she moved against him, inviting.  She ran her hands over
his bare chest and under the sheets.  "Oh-oh, Lara's being a bad little
girl again?  But Will won't stand for that!" Like a cat she arched and
brushed against him, purring in his ear.  "Make her pay for being
            He frowned at her; it was a come-on that appealed to the worst
in a man.  He threw the blanket over her head, hopped out of bed and got
into the shower.  It was over again anyway; why make it more difficult?
            "Breakfast in the crew mess," she called laughingly over the
sound of the water.

            She decided to wait for him there.  There were things to think
about, things to decide. Their arrival at Anaxagorus brought up a problem:
what to do with him.  Now that Draemos was over, he should technically be
released back to Strategic where he was supposed to have gone in the first
place.  He was expecting to go to the Starbase and wait for reassignment
with the rest of the Enterprise crew, but her little fraud with the
cytoplasm made letting him go a trifle  tricky.  He was, after all,
supposed to be dead.
            Originally, she hadn't wanted a partner for this venture at
all.  Adjan had okayed her going alone, but then Admiral Christopher had
insisted on back-up.  It was safer, he said, after what had happened to
Nicky.  Huh!   As if she trusted Christopher for anything!  It was
serendipity that she'd heard about the Enterprise disaster and seen
Riker's name on the lists of available personnel.  She remembered that
month they had worked together on the Hood, and she'd decided to have him.
 He'd done very well.  There was time yet before she had to get rid of
him, she told herself.  She wanted to keep him for a while longer.  But
how?   Seducing him that way was going to be harder.
            When he joined her at the table, Anaxagorus was waxing larger
in the single window of the room as the Mateus approached the space
station at sublight.
            A steward brought the coffee and juice she had ordered for
them and assortment of hot, stuffed breads.  The Ebisian left the food
steaming on the table, and then they were alone, all of the Mateus crew
having eaten much earlier.
            Riker squinted out the viewport.  "You woke me to look at
that?" he asked her facetiously.
            "It's not so bad," she replied.  "I've worked here before.  It
has an excellent computer facility, it's out of the way, it's always full
of weird transient science types--the perfect hideout."
            "It's a Federation outpost, our territory.  You mind telling
me what we're hiding out from?"
            "I'd like to, but there are some things you shouldn't know
unless you're official Intelligence.  There are  things I just can't tell
            "Like that little transporter trip that got us here? You might
have told me you had an escape worked out for Draemos.  It would have
saved a lot of time and trouble."
            "I was only going to use it if I had to.  If you'd known the
whole thing, I doubt you'd have gone for it . . ."  She moistened her
lips. She glanced around the empty mess hall.  She weighted the pause with
the drama of her decision to trust him.  And then in a low voice, she
explained.  "It's a variation on the transporter program.  The developer
called it Jigsaw," she said leaning in toward him.  She took from her
pocket the Suari's transporter badge and pried it open, showing him a
second tiny chip inside.  "Did you ever have a jigsaw puzzle when you were
a kid? Think of the transporter in those terms.  You're the puzzle; the
transporter is the kid and the program is the box. When the puzzle is
assembled, it's hard to move it anywhere, so the kid knocks it into
pieces, puts it in a box, and carries the box to the destination, where he
reassembles it." 
            "Transporters are a lot more complicated than that--I hope."
            "But the concept is the same. Now what happens if the kid
wants to give the puzzle to someone who's not supposed to have it?  How
does he pass it through the bars?"
            "Let me guess," he said.  "You're talking about transporting
through an ion field, like Draemos --"
            "--or a defensive shield, like D'Klat." 
            "You can't transport through a defensive shield.  You can tear
through an ion field if you can generate enough power, but defensive
shields nowadays are on random modulation with overlapping wavelengths.  
Your 'puzzle box'  will just bounce off."
            "What if you didn't use the box?"
            "What do you mean 'didn't use the box'?"
            "What if you moved it piece by piece?" 
            "Piece by piece?  When you dematerialize, you're already down
to your atoms."
            "Yeah, inside an annular confinement beam, a very focused,
very coherent energy stream.  That's why it can't go through a shield. 
When it hits a coherent energy field, it bounces off.  Like the box
rebounding off a metal grate.  But what if transporter beams were more
diffuse?  It would be like passing the pieces through the openings in the
            "You're telling me that's how we got off Draemos?"
            "I activated the Phaethon's transporter remotely and when it
targeted us, it read the Jigsaw program off my badge and spread the beam
to pull us through the field."
            "And how did we get put back together?"
            "That takes a little doing.  You need to have a transporter on
the receiving end.  The program cycles through a number of times to pick
up all the pieces; that's why it takes so long. But that helps us disguise
the transport.  On the logs, it looks like a diagnostic routine that a
transporter would normally go through if it missed a target."
            "Wait a minute.  If the Phaethon's transporter picked us up,
how'd we get to the Mateus?"
            "Because you're recycling in what's essentially a diagnostic
mode, you'll keep forever in the buffer.  That's one we learned from you
guys on the Enterprise and from her original chief engineer." 
            "Captain Montgomery Scott!  He set up the transporter like a
stasis chamber."
            "Right.  And once you're all in buffer, it's the easiest thing
in the world to have a friend relay you to another location."
             Riker shook his head like a bad headache was coming on. "You
know, you were right. I wouldn't have gone for it  if I had known. In
terms of my preferred means of travel, it's right down there with steerage
on the Titanic." 
            "I told you, it's a last ditch measure. That's why I waited
till we had no other choice. Even a little mistake, one interruption or
out of order sequence, can completely undo you."
            He rubbed his hands across his forehead. "You're not going to
use this Jigsaw program again, are  you?"
            "Well, we proved that it works.  I can probably use the
program just so long as no one knows I'm doing it.  A piece of spy craft
like this has a limited life span.  Once people catch on, it'll be easy to
routinely screen for the program and disrupt it-- and then,"  she raised
her glass, "you're tomato juice!"
            Riker's half-raised arm lowered his own drink back to the
table.  "Lara, I really, really want to thank you for asking for me for
this mission."
            "Well, what did you think, Will?  Did you think I requested
you for your technical expertise?"
            "What the hell DID you ask for me for?"
            She cocked her chin at him.  "You have the most incredible
luck of any man I've ever met."
            Riker's head came out of his hands. "Luck!  You've used up my
entire life's supply of luck on this escapade.  I will never be able to
play poker again.  Did you write this little piece of spy craft?"
            "No, not entirely.  I mean I started it, but I didn't even
know Nicky had gotten it to work till x after he was gone.  No, it belongs
to him and his team--my team now--and I haven't told anyone else about it,
except you."
            "Is that  how Nicky got off D'Klat?"
            She nodded.  
            "So how come he didn't go through the system with the ILOC
when he docked at Suari Central?"
            "He didn't know they were waiting for him, and Telam's
freighter was diverted to a lesser dock with a molecular resolution
transporter.  You need quantum resolution to transport a life form.  So, I
guess he just coded the relay for Telam's house andxwaited." 
            He shook his head and turned his eyes to the window. 
Anaxagorus had  grown to the point where only the shuttlebay sphere fit
now in the view.  His hands rested on the table where he'd dropped them.
Her fingers touched his tentatively.  He looked back at her-- serious,
            "You've been really good about this," she said.  "The only
thing more I'll ask you to do is stick by the story that I got off at
Boccaro.  I have an alibi planted there that I went on to Foh."
            "What about the Ebisians?" he said.  
            "They're reliable.  They hate the Romulans.  I couldn't even
pay them for this trip." 
            The silence afterward was made louder by the engines
throttling down as they approached the dock.
            She took his hand. "Willx if I haven't said thank-you, I'll
say it now.  Nicky--Nicky would've thanked you, too.  I guess it doesn't
mean much to you that you vindicated him, but to me, it was--I, I don't
have words to tell you.  Anyway, you saved my skin, too.  I owe you,
Righteous.  So, thanks forx everything."
            "Just doing my job, Hoover."
            "I hope it wasn't all just the job." She looked at him coyly,
and the warmth and tenderness she saw there nearly threw off her
concentration.  "I can manage the rest solo," she said offhandedly,
exaggerating it just enough, she hoped, that he would take it as false
bravado. "So, when we get off this bucket, you don't even have to know me.
 I'm just a scientist with a Rift project, and you can go back home."
            Home, he thought, where is that?
            She took her hands away from his and wrapped them around her
coffee as if to warm them.  She sat and looked as frail as she could. 
Thinking of Nicky, it wasn't that hard.
                    A somber mood overtook them.  He glanced from the
window to her and back again.  There was the muffled whoosh of the
thrusters and then the dull thuds of the airlocks catching and sealing.  
            She watched him as he sipped his coffee, resting his chin in
his hand, the stubble of his beard already shading in his face.  Pensive,
she thought.  
          Finally he said, "You know, these little space ports remind me
of my father."
            She looked at him quizzically.
            "He was always leaving home and shipping off to some
god-forsaken establishment in the middle of nowhere."  
            "Really?  What did he do?"
            "Civilian defense advisor. He was very hot to make a big name
for himself.  He loved to come into a place like this and turn it inside
            "Well, looks like you'll be following in his footsteps."
            "God, I hope not."   He didn't elaborate. 
            "My father was a station commandant," she said. "They might
have given Ivan a place like this to administer, but thankfully,
nit-picking was the one thing he did really well, so they gave him one of
the bigger bases--Secas.  Otherwise, we might have grown up on a ruin like
Anaxagorus...though my life on Secas could hardly have been a worse ruin.
            "Secas is very well-run facility.  At least, it has a good
reputation." He was listening to the tone of her voice. Her emotional
state was mercurial.  At first, she had seemed excited, jovial even,
talking about this harrowing Jigsaw program.  But then at the mention of
Nicky, he'd seen the vulnerability and now--he wasn't sure what he was
              "Ivan certainly spent a lot of effort on his reputation.  He
was a career man, too.  Too bad he didn't know his career and his
reputation boiled down to being the petty bureaucrat he always railed
about.  Pushing papers was the only thing he was ever good at."
             An old, unsettled anger was what he was hearing--and hurts
that had never healed.
            "Starfleet needs people who can run space stations, too."  He
was trying to be conciliatory, but it was the truth.  "Everybody's got a
place where they fit into the big picture.  Your place changes as you do,
but as long as you're in the service, you're always looking for the spot
that needs you...  Lara, you don't look down on your father--just because
he didn't succeed in the command wing?  I'm sure he was trying to do what
was best for himself and Starfleet and his family."
            "Yeah," her green eyes lanced him "--and in just that order! 
What? Do you think I cared whether he made admiral before sixty?  I'd have
been happy if he'd made it to my birthday party any given year.  Look,
Will, some people have no business having a family.  They're just not cut
out for it.  They have no places inside them to connect with anybody else.
 You can cut Ivan out in any shape you like, but it's still the same
material.  He was a self-absorbed bastard.  I was nothing to him. No,
wait, I was something--a petty annoyance.  He had no time for me and even
less thought. And Mama was so under his thumb, she never did anything
about it.  The only one who gave a damn about me was Nicky."
             She struggled to control herself. He watched her pull herself
back in.
             "Hey," he said gently. "I know how you feel. I think I must
have felt like that most of my life.  It seemed to me like my dad was
always putting his career first, but now... now,  I think maybe it's just
a question of us having missed our chances.  We just didn't seem to come
together, even though we really needed one another.... I don't think it
was all his fault.  Maybe he'd have been a better father, if I'd been a
different son.  I don't think I recognized some of the things he did"
            The tense quiet that stretched between them was interrupted by
the intercom commencing the docking announcement for Anaxagorus. 
             "Well, we're here. So, I guess you're done, Commander
Righteous. You can leave now."  There was an odd tension in her voice. 
"I'll pass on your request for transfer out of Intelligence.  It'll
probably take a couple days to clear. . . I swear, once I get this ILOC
translated, I'm done with this business, too.  I'm out.  I've had
            She stood up abruptly, bumping the table and upending his cold
coffee in a puddle that rushed toward his sleeve.  
            "Damn!" she said. She grabbed a napkin from the stack the
steward had left.  "I'm sorry, Will!  What a stupid thing--I can't--seem
to do anything I try to--!"  She mopped the spill furiously with the
napkin, head down to disguise the drop about to spill from her eyes.  "I
don't know what's gotten into me.  Go ahead, will you?  I'll take care of
this." She seized the offending cup, and for a moment they both thought
she would hurl it across the room. 
            But he was standing next to her, holding her by the shoulders,
willing her to be still.
            "Lara," he said.  "Lara, calm down. It's all right."
            The intercom sputtered with another exchange between the
station and the Mateus' helm and she let go of the cup, holding her arms
rigidly at her sides, not daring to touch him.
            "Come on. Stop it," he said.  "We'll get off in a minute and
get you settled."  He smoothed her trembling, running his hands down her
arms, pulling her into a hug.  "There's no rush.  I can be here a couple
of days till it's really ended anyway.  I can stay a little longer if you
need me.  Lara?  You hear me?  I'll be here if you need me."
            She took several deep breaths, and as he continued to hold
her, one part of her assessed her triumph. She'd done it.  But some other
part within her registered a tiny twinge of fear. How much of this scene
was calculated and how much was from her heart had somehow escaped her

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Tue Apr  9 22:35:15 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW Ch9 part 2
Date: 9 Apr 1996 22:19:26 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 124
Message-ID: <4kf5re$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of M.A. Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 9: "Seduction" Part 2

      Some thousand light years away, Captain Curt Adjan was appraising
the Station Commandant's office at Starbase 191.  The room was nearly as
grand as the admiral's suite but what really humanized it were the little
touches that the Enterprise's former captain had added of his own, a
sextant on the table, a carpet from the Gyses Second Dynasty, and
especially, the Kurlan Naiskos that sat on the black marble desk.
            Adjan sat down in front of the desk. He clasped his hands
together in his lap. "I'm sorry, Captain Picard. I really don't know how
to put this."
            "Perhaps simply would do best." 
             "Your former first officer has gone missing."
            Picard's eyes snapped up.
            "Not dead--at least, we don't think so....   You see, he
didn't go to the Strategic Wing.  They did request an officer for a
survey, but they got someone else.  Commander Riker was transferred under
secret orders to Intelligence--my division."
            Picard stood up giving his jacket a vicious tug.  "And was
Commander Riker aware that this was real nature of the assignment?"
            "Not till we got him out on the Stark, no. . .   He's a good
man, Captain Picard.  I'm sure you know that...took the job even though he
knew we were asking him and our other agent to walk into a near impossible
situation.  And we think they walked out of it, too, except that we have
new information now, and....  Well, you'll treat this as top secret, of
            Picard's short nod assented.
            "We sent him with a regular intelligence operative to Draemos
to retrieve a  dispatch.  We were aware even at the outset that the
mission might be compromised:  we knew that we have an informer, a  'mole'
somewhere in the division.
            "To make a long story short--they completed their mission and
escaped, using a very dangerous procedure that we thought was unknown
beyond the first agent who developed it.  And they've gone into hiding
--even from us...."  Adjan placed his curled hands on the desk top and
leaned slightly in to Picard, the tense lines of his body reflected in the
black mirror surface.
            "I need to ask you now, Captain Picard, whether Commander
Riker is here on the Starbase or whether you have had contact with him
since he left?"
            "No and no."
            "You will give me your word on that?"
            Picard's jaw set.  "I have an empathic ship's counselor.  I
can call her in if you wish, and she can tell you without hearing any of
the details whether I'm telling you the truth."
            The consternation was clear on Adjan's face.  "That will not
be necessary."
         "And now, Captain Adjan, there are a couple of questions you can
answer for me.  How is it that you don't know where your team is?  Why
aren't they in communication with you?"
            "We now have reason to believe that the Intelligence leak is
the agent we sent Commander Riker to assist, that she is actually a double
            Picard's face solidified to stone.
            "Commander Lara Kirov was one of our most promising
operatives, an expert in espionage techniques and a brilliant computer
analyst.  She's obsessive about her targets and utterly ruthless. She
asked for Riker based upon their past association, so it's possible that
there's a certain level of feeling between them.  That's why I'm hopeful
she hasn't disposed of him and why I am telling you all this.  If Riker
should contact you, you are to inform me immediately as to his
whereabouts,  and--I know this is the hard part--you must not under any
circumstances tell him that he's in danger.  I promise you we will
retrieve him Priority One, but any indication that he knows about her, any
slip on his part, and he's likely to turn up dead.  His safety is in your
silence.  I must ask for your word for that, too, Captain Picard."  
            The explosion Adjan expected didn't come, but the captain's
question had the force of  phaser blast.  "And what was so important that
you hijacked my first officer under false pretenses and put him in this
            "We believe that the information in the dispatch that Kirov
retrieved details a terrorist act.  The Romulan faction that opposes
rapproachment is looking to make a political statement.  There have been
indications that they are planning a strike very soon."
            "Are there any indications what their target might be?"   
            "Look around you.  A new, completely modern starbase this
close to their border...?  The Empire was not exactly delighted when the
plans went in five years ago. There was a great deal of diplomatic protest
then, but the Federation and Starfleet decided to proceed in spite of the
opposition.  The opposition remains, and now the hustle and bustle of
construction, even if it were being closely attended by the Rear Admiral,"
Adjan half-snorted, "which it clearly is not, makes an ideal opportunity. 
Captain, I know you don't feel this way, but I, for one, am very glad that
you're here taking up the slack."  Guiltily he added, "I've urged Admiral
Christopher to issue orders for you to remain here --at least in the near
term -- to take charge of the defense of this station.  We need to have
the best possible commander here to hold the fort.  I'm sorry; I know this
is not a place you ever envisioned for yourself."
            Picard exhaled slowly, "It is where Starfleet commands me to
            Adjan nodded.  "This not what I expected for myself either.  I
took over from Captain Beheskew after the Pressman-Pegasus court martial. 
 I have no illusions about my selection. They didn't need any high powered
Intelligence agent.  This is just a tiny corner of space out here, a few
non-aligned but strong independent systems like the Suaris and the Xoans
between us and the most vacant piece of the Romulan Empire.  Pretty
secure.  Nothing is supposed to happen here.  Nothing had ever happened
here--until about nine months ago when a hot shot by the name of Nicky
Kirov, one of the bright young stars of Central Intelligence, came out and
set up shop.  Romulan specialties, he was into--like it wasn't enough just
to defend ourselves; we had to sneak up on them in an edge of their
territory that even they don't pay much attention to.  I warned
him--meddling only destabilizes the sector.  But he had influence, and I
was never able to control him.  And now I have his sister to deal with."
            Adjan shook his head ruefully and stood up, a prologue to his
leaving  but he had one last reminder, couched well.
            "I appreciate your help on this, Captain Picard.  I can see
how hard it will be for you to follow those orders about not warning
Commander Riker.  I can see how much the people of the Enterprise mean to
            "Can you?"
            "Yes."  Adjan turned back from the doorway.   "You always
refer to them with the possessive: 'my' officers.  You know, it's that
sense of belonging--that's what makes a ship." 

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Chapter 10:  "Counselor"

     Deanna wriggled down a little further in bed, eyes closed, limbs getting
heavy, just before falling asleep.  The padds had been laid aside, some of
them toppling off the pile and under the bed, scanned enough to thoroughly
discourage her. 
     The words of the position briefs in the dispute began to take on different
voices:  the nasal grating of the Intoshi foreman's accent, the slow
monotone of the Zakdorn-- her own voice protesting to Picard-- her mother
urging her to come home-- Picard insisting she could do this work-- Will
asking, what's your next step?  No--  stop.   She didn't want to think about
Will--  she wasn't going to think about Will-- but no, she couldn't stop
thinking about him....

     They had gone to Ten-Forward together to celebrate after she'd passed
her bridge officer's exam. 
     "Not champagne," he said decisively when the waiter arrived to take their
order.  "Too generic.  Everybody does champagne."  He ordered her a drink
called a brandy Alexander--"Synthehol's closest cousin to the chocolate
sundae."  Two? asked the waiter.  No thanks, he'd have his customary ale.
The waiter left and silence fell between them.
     "You were pretty steamed at me there for a while," he observed.
     "I'm sorry-- . It was incredibly frustrating," she said. "I didn't mean to
take it out on you."   Though perhaps she had meant it at the time.  She
looked around Ten-Forward, anywhere not to look at him.
     Her annoyance with Will had been building for days when he had stopped
earlier that afternoon to tell her that he was canceling her test.  Four
times she had allowed the Enterprise to explode in the exam simulation by
failing to find a solution to a technological malfunction.   She had tried
every possible response and none worked.  Was there an answer? she had
demanded.  Yes, he said, but there were people who could not get the
answer, who were simply not suited to be bridge officers.  He said he
thought it wasn't in her. 
     She had exploded.  She felt angry and hurt and betrayed!  Was this the
full support he'd promised her?  So what if she wasn't the most
technologically adept person on board?
     I care for you, he'd said, but no matter what I feel personally, the ship
comes first.
     As if I didn't know that!  That was exactly what she wanted to spit at him
when he'd said it.  She was so angry that she didn't comprehend what he was
really saying till he'd left.  In a sudden flash, she realized what she was
supposed to do:  the only way to save the ship was to sacrifice what she
felt personally.  The answer was to order the engineer--in the simulation
it had been Geordi--to crawl into a plasma conduit to make the repair--an
order to his death! And once she'd realized it, she had marched back into
the holodeck, downloaded the exam simulation and done it.
     Their drinks arrived.  She tasted hers, and it was a little like
chocolate, so she drank down the first swallows quickly and waited for the
welcome relaxation, but it didn't come.  He chatted idly, a comment or two,
but she answered perfunctorily, still too keyed up.  So he stopped trying
to converse and quietly watched her, sipping his drink patiently, just
being there across the table from her. 
     She lifted her eyes to his, and though he made no effort to speak directly
to her mind as once he had, she felt him reach out tenderly to her.
     "What's the matter?" he asked gently.
     "It was just a simulation.  I know that.  And I--I still feel shaken--
even though it was just a simulation."
     "You don't usually have to give orders that amount to killing your
friends.  That scenario is a million-to-one shot."
     "I know, I know.  But now that I've done it--  "
     "You wonder whether you'd ever have the guts to do it for real?"
     She nodded.
     "We all do." 
     "I studied everything about the bridge systems, and I couldn't see it!  I
couldn't think of it all that time.  And now-- now I can't stop thinking of
it.  I can't help feeling... horrified... at myself."
     "That's why you couldn't think of it to begin with. That's why it's on the
test--to remind you that you can't rule out anything.  You have to be
willing to think of the unthinkable, because maybe it's the only way."
     "I'm not sure I was even in the rational part of my mind when I gave the
     He considered that a moment. He settled his elbows on the table.  "I think
you conceive of it up here--" he tapped a finger against his temple, "but
here is where the command springs from."  His hand curled lightly into a
fist and touched his chest just below the sternum.
     She hugged herself. "That's where it hurts now."
     "Well," he said, "you hope you never give that command and it doesn't
     The fist fell open and he held out his hand to her, a strong, broad hand
to rest her own in. "Remember what started this all?  You commanded the
bridge when we ran into that quantum filament?" 
     "I wouldn't let them separate the saucer."
     "Even though Ro wanted you to.  Even though the ship was at risk.  But
when it came right down to the last few seconds -- would you have done it?"
     She sighed.  "I think so.  I guess I was preparing myself to do it.  I
just needed to wait until it was the last possible moment."
     "That's what you're supposed to do.  Sometimes the waiting's harder than
the doing.  Take it from me." He gave her that self-deprecating smile.
"The trick is to know the difference between waiting and hesitating."
     "Oh, let's never hesitate to throw half the ship away," she said.
     "Just as long as I get to pick the half," he grinned.
     Yes, she said to herself.  You weren't in the saucer section.  You were at
the bottom of the ship in Engineering, the part Ro wanted me to jettison.
You'd have been killed.  But I didn't know you were there.  What if I had
known? What if I'd had to do it?
     "Well, I'm delighted you passed your test, Commander Troi.  What's the
next step?"
     "The next step?  I've only had this one for half an hour.  Don't I get a
moment or two to enjoy it?"
     "Savor it as long as you like," he said.  "But think about it as a step,
not as the destination.  I seem to remember also that you decided to pursue
this promotion only after you found out that some friends from your class
had already made it.  Next time, make them play catch up.  Take the
initiative, Deanna.  Get there first." 
     "This from the man who's turned down three commands?"
     "I know the one I'm aiming for.  And if I can't get that one, I'll only
settle for something twice as good."
     "All right, but when I decide to go for Captain, the last teacher I want
to conduct my exam is Admiral Riker." 
     "You, Commander Troi," he chided her, that familiar glimmer in his eyes,
"are a hardnosed, headstrong student.  And I was trying to be so very
patient, too, in memory of a teacher I once had who took extra pains with
     "Oh?" she smiled slowly, suspecting what was coming.  "What course was
that in?"
     "Ra Beem." he said.  It was the psychology of acceptance and emotional
support that she had taught him on Betazed.
     "I suppose I should have remembered some of that, myself." She was
embarrassed now at how she'd resented him.  "You knew the answer to the
simulation and I didn't.  I could see only that you had the power in the
situation, and I felt like you were lording it over me, even though you
were just doing your part as the examiner."
     "Well, you were right, too.  I could have been a little more encouraging,
 a little less...official.  I know it can be kind of hard for an empath who
always has more information than anyone else to be the one operating in the
dark.  I mean, you take me, now--I'm used to it."
     She smiled back at him, trying so hard to make her feel better, but she
was remembering something he once said: that her empathic powers had
given her a little edge of control, an advantage over him in their
relationship.  That must have made her feel safe, he'd accused. 
     Safe?  Hardly. The truth was she never felt safe from Will.  She needed
those abilities of control.  How many times had she gotten over Will Riker
and yet those feelings would not die?  How nearly she had succumbed several
times since their posting to the Enterprise.  She still remembered the
night after the poker game when her jubilant success and his playful
congratulations had lent the situation a little too much rein....
     ...his fingers stroked her hair and his eyes pleaded and she answered not
while we're serving on the same ship but suddenly he was sweeping her to
     ...have you stopped thinking about us?
     His hands branding her body and his lips pressed to hers...
     ...I can't stop thinking about you...
     ... his desire for her as hot as it had been on Betazed, for his whole
soul yearned to meld again with hers, and she would have let him!
     Safe from Will Riker?  Only fear had stopped her, fear of surrender, of
losing herself.  Loving him had been a totality.  Between the two of them,
lovemaking could never be just the sudden flare of passion.
      He was Imzadi.  For everyone else there was the persona--Counselor Troi.
She held her feelings in check to better help them with their own.  But
with Will, she could get angry, she could show sorrow, she could be the
superior, omniscient psychologist or just a dead wrong subordinate officer.
 She could laugh with him, even at him, she could be herself, perfectly
natural, except for that one emotion, that one feeling that was just too
     She looked up, and Will was distracted by something beyond her.  She
turned around.  Worf had come into Ten-Forward.  She motioned a greeting.
The Klingon hesitated just fractionally and then he nodded his
acknowledgement and went to the bar, politely declining to join them.
     "Say, is there something going on with Worf?" he asked her.
     "What?" the question startled her.
     "Some anniversary, rite of passage, Klingon ritual something?"
     "Not that I know of," she gulped.  Why?"
     "'s happened a couple of times now. I'll be  having a drink at
the bar and Worf will walk over and we'll talk --you know, the job, the
ship's teams, new holodeck programs  --but it's like he's got something
else on his mind, like there's something he wants to talk about, but he
just never gets there."  He paused for her reaction. 
     "Did--did you ask him about it?"
     "I tried to humor it out of him, but he froze up."
     She floundered, hoping that outwardly she appeared only to be thinking it
     "You know what I think?"  he said finally, setting a hand resolutely over
hers on the table. "I think he's lonesome.  I think we ought to find him a
     She knew her expression must have looked like shock, for he went on,
on, Deanna.  There are women aboard the Enterprise who are
physically-- capable of Worf--women who would find it exciting,
overwhelming--in the best sense of the word.   I mean, look at him, he's a
terrific guy!   You must know someone we could kind of--  fix him up with?" 
     "Will, I--I--agree.  Worf is a wonderful person--and handsome and-- and
sincere and noble." 
     The tone in her voice turned him around.  "Right," he nodded. "So...?"
     "I'll think about it," she said.

     Deanna tossed in her bed wrestling with the memory. Even as she had said
it, her relationship with Worf had already gone beyond thinking.  Worf had
already approached her, tentative and cautious, and she had let herself be
swayed by the handsome appearance and the sincere and noble intentions. She
had followed an impulse without really thinking about it.  She'd answered
Worf's concerns about hurting Will's feelings by telling him,  "It's okay
to concentrate on what we feel." 
     But later, when finally the truth came out, when she'd had to say that she
and Worf were seeing one another, she could hardly face Will--the look in
his eyes!  It didn't feel okay at all. 
     And now that she was at last thinking about it--what did she think?--how
did she really feel?--what the hell was she going to do about them?
     "Are you not ready yet, Counselor?"
     When Data appeared outside her quarters at precisely 06:15, she was
whirling around picking up her data padds, looking for her shoes, and
trying to pin her communicator to her lapel.
      I have completed all the preflight preparations," he told her. "Our
shuttlecraft is ready to go."
      "Sorry, Data. I'm not quite centered this morning. I didn't sleep well
last night.  Have you studied the statements from each of the parties?"
     "Yes, I read them this morning.  It is a simple argument.  The Zakdorns
were, by contract, to have turned over a construction platform to the
Intoshi builders of this Starbase two days ago.  The Zakdorns have not
finished the salvage and recycle of the Enterprise, and they claim that the
contract allows them to keep the platform till the end of the job.  The
Intoshi are also behind schedule on the Starbase and are being pressured by
Starfleet to complete their work.  They insist that the contract allows
them to repossess the platform immediately."
     "And did you go through all the techno-"  she was about to say "babble"
but she reconsidered, "--um, the specifications?"
     "I was already thoroughly familiar with all of the technical questions
     She felt a twinge of envy. "Well then, we should be able to settle this
easily, right?"  Shod, pinned and burdened with her padds, she closed the
door behind them and they walked off toward the auxilliary shuttle bay for
the two hour trip out to the construction platform where the mediation was
to be held.
     "I hope the session will be brief,"  Data commented.  "I am having some
problems with the holographic simulations subroutines.  Perhaps we could
discuss them on our way out to the platform. " 
     "Data, I don't think my head can hold any more specs," she winced
apologetically.  "Why don't you run them by Geordi.  I'm sure he'd be glad
to hear from you."  
     "Geordi and I have not been having very satisfactory conversations lately,
although I am doing my best.  I do not understand what is wrong.  I tell
him about my activities, and I describe in great detail how they have
affected me, but he has not responded."
     "Did you ask him about his?"
     "His what?"
     "About how he's feeling, what he's doing?"
     The android seemed to be accessing and reviewing their last conversation.
     "Do you remember when we found Captain Scott alive," Deanna asked, 
we brought him aboard our ship?  He felt a little lost in a new world very
far from his old Constitution class Enterprise.  Well, Geordi has some of
that same feeling now that his Enterprise is gone."
     "He did not say so."
     "Well, no, he wouldn't. Geordi is someone who is accustomed to solving
other people's problems.  When it comes to his own, he's often surprised to
find that he can't solve them himself.  And instead of yelling for help,
he's likely to wait for his friends to pull it out of him."
      "Ah!  He did once explain to me that one must sometimes persist in
asking.  One must coax communication, as it were.  I will call and ask
again.  But the questions I have about my holodeck programming are
inquiries about emotions."
     "All right. Those, I can field.  So what's happening?"
     "I have installed over one hundred simulations, but I am not accumulating
much understanding about emotions."
     "What exactly have you been doing?"
     "I have been running through standard scenarios in literature.
Shakespearean plays, for example.  I stop the action on occasion and ask
the characters how they feel."
     She smiled amusedly.  "They must love that."
     "I copied the technique from you," he said proudly and chatted right on,
oblivious to her reaction.  "But it is when I experiment with the scenes to
see how the characters will respond emotionally that I become confused.
For instance, several times I let Romeo and Juliet die. Each time,  I
reawakened them and reset the action to the beginning of the play so that
they could proceed 'from the top' in full knowledge of how the play would
turn out."
     "Invariably they made the same mistakes again and again." 
     "That's not what you expected?"
     "Well, of course, it is a holodeck program, and at first I thought I had
simply encountered the persistence of characterization protocols.  Except
that something odd happened when I switched plays.  When the original
situation in a play turned out happily, the characters would begin to
change everything.  I have fifty-two different versions of A Midsummer
Night's Dream."
     "Data, what you're seeing is not just a function of holodeck programming.
 Real people are like that, too. We often persist in 'wrong' behaviors for
very deep-seated reasons.  Sometimes it takes a lot before we even realize
what we're doing and why we're doing it.  And even then sometimes we can't
help ourselves."
     "But would not a happy result tend to foster repeated behavior more than
an unhappy one?"
     "It does, but success also makes us secure for experimentation.  If you
think you'll always end up with something good, you feel free to play
around a little with it.  When you fiddled with Midsummer Night's Dream,
did Lysander always end up with Hermia and Demetrius with Helena?"
     "Yes. That is true."
     "You see, Data, it isn't so much whether the plot is tragedy or comedy.
It's the people and their innermost characters."
     "Then despite any consequences, there is something in Romeo that must
always love Juliet?"
     "I think Shakespeare says exactly that: '...a rose by any other name...'
People have to act like who they are."
     He sighed,  "This solves everything for Romeo and Juliet, but  does not
help me very much.  I still am not sure who I am."
     She laughed gently at his downcast expression.  "Data, we're all working
on that one."  She took his arm affectionately. "Why don't you try putting
just a little less emphasis on what feelings SHOULD be. You can't look at
emotional response as though it were an answer you could get right or
wrong.  You've seen Geordi make jokes when we were all about to be blown to
kingdom come.  Humor even then was a natural response.  Or think of Captain
Picard, who often becomes embarrassed by the most ordinary displays of
affection.  Not logical, but completely understandable, given who the
captain is.  Feelings are just what you feel. Stop applying your logic
program to them so rigorously. You'll learn emotions by having them.  So
try to relax and just have them, okay?"
     Data nodded.  Deanna picked up one of her padds and looked at her notes. 
     "Now, if only I could learn circuitry by having some!  You know, I envy
you, Data.  You're not even a little nervous, are you?"
     "Oh, no, Counselor.  If you remember, I was arbitrator in the Ventaxian
case that Captain Picard argued against the con-artist, Ardra.  That was a
much more tense situation than this is likely to be."   

     "You are absolutely crazy!" he shouted.  "Your position is completely
     Deanna thought she would never see anything other than ghostly pallor on
Data's face, but he actually seemed to have turned slightly lavender in his
     "And you--"  he turned to the other side,  "Unreasonable! Obstinate!
     I should have waited till after the mediation to urge him to relax, she
thought.  Having emotions of one's own about a mediation definitely made a
     "Children--!  Arguing over a toy!"
     At least Data had achieved one thing:  they were no longer shouting at
each other.  They were staring at him.  The mediation had hit bottom.
     "Perhaps we should just stop right here."  Her cool, calm voice quenched
the atmosphere for a moment.  Data sat down pulling at his  artificial hair.
     "It seems to me that we have been going round and round about our
differences for the past hour, and we've completely forgotten our common
ground." All turned their attention gratefully to Deanna who reminded them,
"We all want to see the Enterprise situation resolved as quickly and safely
as possible so as to let the construction on the starbase move ahead on
     The Intoshi foreman was a stout, muscular man named Bodnar.  He had
chain-chewing tufo, an Intoshi confection somewhere between tobacco and
chewing gum, and now he popped another lozenge into his mouth and ran a
hand down his overheated face.  "Little lady, the common ground IS that
construction platform."
     "Maybe not," Deanna replied as Bodnar steadily chewed his lozenge like
some bovine subspecies.  "Maybe our focus has just narrowed to the point
that that's what we think the real issue is.  I propose that instead of
arguing about who has the right to the equipment, as if it were the only
way to solve the problem, we begin at the end--our common interest--and see
if we can't find some ways to help each other get there.  Now what is it
that each of us really needs?"
     Zakdorn Salvage Manager Orek looked at Bodnar's jaw-grinding with
disdain.  "We need the platform."  He addressed Troi with exaggerated
patience.   "Counselor, I'm sorry, but I'm not sure you understand the
situation very well.  I must say I rather wonder about the advisability of
choosing someone such as yourself as arbiter for this dispute."
     "Such as myself?"  The 'little lady' was bad enough, but the Zakdorn's
comment was below the bottom for this mediation.
     "Well, I mean..."
     He means a woman and Betazoid.
      She inhaled deeply and got ready to take him down a peg, when suddenly
she exhaled and did an aboutface.
     "If you mean that engineering is not my FIELD," she said very calmly but
with emphasis on the word,  "you're quite right.  However, I have not
dismissed its importance.  I looked over this material with great care. If
you feel I've misunderstood something, I would not be offended by your
explaining it to me.  For instance, why does the dematerialization of the
Enterprise have to be done with a construction platform instead of--say,
the transporter system of a starship?"
     "Exactly my point." Bodnar's finger zeroed in on the Zakdorn's nose.
"Those Starfleet ships that they have ferrying workers back and forth from
the Starbase have category C transporter systems--"
     "But you must understand, Counselor, " the Zakdorn spoke right over
Bodnar's objections, "the quark manipulation field of a category C
transporter system--"
     "All right, all right!" she waited for silence. "See if I have this right:
 what you're about to prove to me is that 'normal' transporters have too
small a capacity for the job of deconstructing the Enterprise."
     The Zakdorn tilted his head to and fro in consideration of her statement
and then, grudgingly, "Essentially, yes, you have the gist of it."
     "So, technically, the platform isn't the only way to accomplish the
salvage, but the dematerialization would take forever if you had to use the
transporters on the available starships?"
     "That is correct.  It would take an exceedingly long time."
     Instead of asking the Zakdorn or Data, she turned to Bodnar.  "How long
would it take?"
     "Well, a week, for sure," he answered.
     Orek nodded.
     Data watched, his frustration melting into fascination. In less than a
minute, without them realizing it, she'd gotten them to agree on something.
     "So Mr. Orek, you're telling me that maybe the real issue is getting
behind schedule. I know I don't like to be late, and as Mr. Bodnar is
already behind schedule himself, perhaps he understands how you feel, too?"
      Bodnar seemed to squirm a little, and then he said defensively,  "Maybe I
understand too well.  I'm exactly thirteen days behind right now with
Starfleet breathing down my neck, and these guys want to hold up the
delivery of the platform.  Only three more days they say, but then it's
another couple of days' re-rigging, another couple to tow it back here, and
then I'm three weeks behind instead of two."
     "I suppose the Zakdorn administrators don't mind this sort of delay?"
     "Of course they do!"  Orek grated.  "That's why--"
     "That's why you know what Mr. Bodnar is going through."
     The Zakdorn glowered at her. "I was going to say that's why we need the
platform.  Our job requires a very specialized piece of equipment."
     "Mr. Bodnar knows about that, too. Aren't you having difficulties getting
some specialized parts that you need?"
     Bodnar responded warmly to her acknowledgement of his predicament. 
could say that again.  The pieces of the field generator for the docking
doors are just coming in to Draemos for transshipping.  They'll take three
days just to get here."
     Data leaned forward to correct him because it would actually take a range
of 2.8 to 4.3 days, but the "little lady"  cut in ahead of him.
     "That's an incorrect figure. It would take only seven tenths of a day,"
she turned to the Zakdorn. "Right?"
     Orek was stumped for a moment, but then he saw it.  "Ah yes, not by
regular freighter but direct from Draemos--"
     "--at Warp 5 or greater," Data finished for him. "But there are no
Starfleet ships available to do such freighting."
     "But the Zakdorn salvage crew has ships that they can't use for the
deconstruction, and the Intoshi have rights to the platform that they could
forgo if they had their docking door parts," Deanna said.
     "Absolutely not!"  Orek protested.  "Those ships aren't ferry boats as has
been suggested.  They're there for security."
     "Security?" Deanna asked.
     "Those ships are alternating support duties with supplying power transfer
beams to the Enterprise computer so that it can generate a defense shield
around the wreckage.  Even with the auxiliary power system aboard the
platform contributing to the power transfer, we need an extra ship to keep
up with the energy demands of the defensive shield."
     "Yes, the defensive shield--" she began.
     "I been wondering about that myself,"  Bodnar interrupted. "Why does it
need a shield at all?  These days, Veridian's tighter than a--"  as his
eyes veered away from her, he left the comparison hanging and swallowed the
last of the tufo.  "Well, it's awful strict for something that's just a
wreck, isn't it?"
     "Oh, no,"  Data corrected him.  "There are still valuable and sensitive
pieces of equipment aboard."
     Deanna continued with feigned innocence, "You see, as Mr. Orek just
explained, they left the computer intact in order to generate a defensive
shield, which they needed because they left the computer intact.  Have I
got that right, Mr. Orek?"
     "We needed the computer online also to help us analyze the salvage,"
said defensively.  "And the idea was evaluated strategically: keeping the
computer on-line makes the risk period shorter and since everyone would
assume that highly protected systems would be the first to be removed, the
risk to those systems is virtually nil."
     "There's a piece of Strellian logic," Bodnar said under his breath.
     "It is irregular," Data said, deciding to skip the etymology of the
Strellian allusion and its crossreference to the Terran cartoonist Rube
Goldberg,  "but I checked it with Rear Admiral Christopher's office, and
they informed me that he agreed, after consultation with Captain Adjan to
allow it."
     "But if the computer was supposed to make the job shorter, how come
over your deadline?"  Bodnar asked.
     "The computer has been very slow.  Crash damaged."
     "I don't think so," Deanna said meaningfully. "There's another illogic
circle here."
     "What do you mean?" the Zakdorn asked.
     Data made the connection instantly.  "The shield output at maximum is
that it would draw power from the transfer beam at a rate almost exceeding
the capacity of the --" Data started.
     "In terms that I could understand," Deanna said, "the shield's appetite
for power is such that it constantly sucks energy not only from the power
transfer beam being fed into the ship's systems but also out of whatever
else is operating on board the vessel--like the computer. They've
accidentally created a damping field that taps the energy out of every
power source on the vessel."
     The Zakdorn's face was turning red.
     "Hah!" Bodnar snorted. "I see what you mean! If you leave the computer
to maintain the shields, the shields make it nearly impossible to leave the
computer on."
     "Well," Orek squirmed,  "under the circumstances, I see that we may be at
fault here.  Perhaps there is an accommodation that would suit.  We'll be
shutting down the computer in preparation to deconstruct it tomorrow
anyway.  The auxiliary power on the platform should be enough to supply the
field alone with the computer off.  We would be happy to turn over the
ships that are doing our supply and transport, if Mr. Bodnar can make use
of them, and if he would not mind our completing the job on the Enterprise
with the platform."
     "I think maybe we could work something out," Bodnar said.
     Troi sighed.  "You know, it's funny that you ended up on opposite sides of
this problem.  You're both very dedicated men, very fastidious about your
     Orek shook his head, "And to think we had to rig a special power transfer
device to every piece of equipment we used on Veridian."
     "What'd you use?"  Bodnar asked.  "PC 26?"
     "With a special booster," Orek said. "The supervisors were beginning to
pull out their hair--those that had any."
     "Yeah," Bodnar said, "The Starfleet guy in charge of the Base now don't
have any to spare either."  He leaned over to offer the Zakdorn one of his
lozenges. "Say, you ever work in the Garadan system?"
     "Thank you, don't mind if I do, " said Orek accepting the tufo.  "I know
just what you mean about the Garadans..."
     "Excellent work," Admiral Christopher said to Troi and Data. "So the
Zakdorns will keep the platform for an extra three days and the
construction crew will get the ships that have been doing duty here at
     The Rear Admiral, accompanied by Adjan, had been making a tour of the
installations and had stopped at the platform to check on the Zakdorns'
progress firsthand.  Christopher, however, had left the checking pretty
much to Adjan, as he loitered with Troi and Data over coffee in the dreary
commissary on the platform.
     "The Northram will rejoin the general sector patrol from the Starbase
where she is at present, and the Scorpio will leave  immediately for
Draemos to get Bodnar's material.  I suspect their crews will be very
grateful to get off ferry duty for the Zakdorns," Troi chuckled.
     Adjan joined the group, having come from the operations area, and for a
few minutes he delivered his terse report to the admiral.
     "Spare me the technobabble, Adjan!" the admiral growled after the first
few sentences. "Let's just have the upshot."
     "Sir, the Enterprise is ready for final dematerialization." 
     The sad quiet that descended around Adjan's summary prompted him to
up again.  "But I understand congratulations are in order as well,
Counselor," the captain concluded.  "You and Mr. Data have effected a
       "It was a very simple exchange in the end.  I wonder that they could not
see it," Data commented. "You did rather well with some difficult
technology, Counselor."
     "Oh, Data, if only people were that simple. What was hardest was not
flying into the challenge about my being a woman and a Betazoid and
therefore unable to deal with technology.  It's hard when you as an
individual have some of the characteristics of a stereotype.  I know I'm
not the most technologically adept person, but I don't want to reinforce
the idea that all people who look like me are..." she searched for a term.
     "Bimbos?  An archaic term, but--" Data began his explication, and then he
saw her face. "I mean, that is what people would...that is what the
stereotype..."  A kind of subroutine he had never run before was screaming
at him.  "In any case," he said, anxious to escape this new alarm in his
head, "I have tried your suggestion about considering other's feelings with
     "Who's Geordi?"  the Admiral asked.
     "Our friend, Lieutenant Commander La Forge."  Deanna smoothed over
her own
response as well.  "You spoke to him already, Data?"
     "I called a little while ago.  And I asked him about his projects first.
Do you know he is working on a fascinating transporter system problem ?"
     Deanna noted immediately the admiral's scowl and Adjan's sudden
     "So you and Geordi are going to work on it together?"
     "No."  the android actually looked hurt.  "Geordi told me that I don't
have to interrupt my holodeck project.  He said he has a friend on
Anaxagorus who has an experimental interest in transporter technology.  He
also mentioned that the Anaxagorus system had a similar malfunction six
weeks ago which was corrected by this scientist,"  Data reported.  "They
are investigating the possibility of a virus.  I believe, however, that
considering the diagnostic protocols for the dematerialization at 10.2G
     Involuntarily, Deanna's teeth set.
     "Very interesting, Mr. Data," Adjan said rising from his chair.  "Would
you care for coffee? I was just going to get some."  He cocked his head in
invitation.  "What was that you were saying about Anaxagorus and the
diagnostic protocols?"  he asked as Data also rose and followed him off
toward the replicator banks beginning a stream of jargon that Deanna
blotted out with empathic waves of gratitude aimed at Adjan.
     "A man who knows how to be helpful," Christopher said dryly tracking
glance after them. 
     Deanna took a moment to consider the helpful "desk captain."  Adjan had
delivered his report on the Enterprise deconstruction with anxiety that
Deanna would have expected to find only in a member of the crew.  He, too,
seemed to feel a funereal quality in the final disposition of the
Enterprise.  But then, as had happened the few times before when they had
met, Deanna sensed him regarding her with interest and attraction.  It
showed through, even though he was a difficult read for her.  One of his
Vulcan traits was a very focused mind, belying the passive manner he
usually affected around Christopher.  As to his Betazoid inheritance, he
obviously had some empathic skills, but they seemed raw and undisciplined,
as though they had never developed beyond what nature had originally
bestowed, as though his mind had never been trained to reach out to the
minds of others, but instead allowed to turn inward upon itself.  To her,
he felt like a man of unplumbed depths.
     "I doubt Adjan is picking up any of it," the admiral said following her
glance after him. "He's no technical wizard, but he has his advantages.
You, now, seem to have taken all this mumbo-jumbo in stride."     
     "No, not really," she replied turning her attention back to the admiral.
"When I took my exam for bridge officer, I realized that I could understand
it with some study, but I don't think I'll ever really enjoy it the way
Data and Geordi do."
     "A bridge officer, too?  You're a woman of many talents, Counselor,"
Christopher remarked.  "Incidentally, you'll be receiving your
reassignments soon.  Will you be sorry to be parting company with the
Enterprise crew?"
     "Yes, for the most part," she smiled.
     "Some more than others?" 
     She quelled the wellspring that surged underneath that remark. "No," she
said.  "It's just that I've been thinking lately about going home and doing
something else with my life."
     "Really?  If I were you, I'd give a thought to the diplomatic corps or to
mediation. I must tell you that when it was all done, Orek asked if
'counselor' was our term for 'attorney'!"
     She laughed, but then,  "I've given it some thought.  My mother, you
 is a cultural ambassador for Betazed.  She feels she could help me into
the diplomatic channels, but...I'm just not sure about my next step."
     "Ambassador Baldwin is a great friend of mine," Christopher confided. "I
would be delighted to contact him...  You seem a little hesitant about
turning yourself over to your mother."
     She smiled. That was quite shrewd of him.  "Thank you," she said. "I'm
perfectly confident of my mother's tutelage in diplomacy, but I'd
appreciate any help you can offer."
     "Any favor to you, my dear, would be my pleasure," he said suavely. "As
soon as we get back to the Starbase I'll put in a call."
     "Actually, Admiral, if you're going back to the Starbase from here, there
is a favor you could do for me right away: a lift.  Data would like to go
on to Anaxagorus tomorrow, but I would much prefer to go back to the
Starbase tonight."
     "But of course!" he said. "I had Adjan bring us out on the Station
Commandant's yacht.  Thought I'd give her a little spin. We have a small
but select crew and plenty of room and everything anyone could ask for
except the company of a lady as lovely as yourself."
     She smiled at the effusive language.  "Thank you, so much, Admiral.  I'll
just tell Data."
     "Come over to the port as soon as you're ready.  Adjan!"  A peremptory
wave summoned the Captain as the Rear Admiral theatrically bowed over her
hand.  "I'll see if we're prepared to get underway."
     When she had bid Data goodbye and gathered her belongings, she found
Adjan had lingered to accompany her to the yacht.
     "Counselor Troi," Adjan said as she approached.   "I hope you'll forgive
my presumption...." He seemed tense and awkward, lowering his voice.
"Perhaps it would be better if you returned with Commander Data.  I'm sure
the Admiral would not be offended by your reconsidering.  And I could help
to smooth it over."
     Despite the cool words and guarded emotional state, Deanna could sense
some concern for her.  She thought she knew where it came from.  She had
felt Adjan's attraction to her and his disdain of Christopher, and she
decided that he had made an ugly presumption that should be set right
before it was forgiven.
     "I don't think you need to worry, Captain Adjan.  I don't sense any
ulterior motives in Admiral Christopher.  I would hope it's inconceivable
in this day and age that a Fleet officer would ask a subordinate to trade
sex for a professional favor --and if he did, I'm not the woman who'd
     She felt an odd ripple in her empathic sense.  He seemed not only
embarrassed but conflicted.  Emotions seethed beneath his imperfect Vulcan
     "No, of course not, please excuse me." His face was rigid. 
     She nodded and walked along with him toward the ship.  Unplumbed
indeed. Perhaps they would get a chance to talk.  He seemed in need of
someone to talk to.  And after all, she was not an ambassador or an
attorney yet.  Still, a counselor.  

edu!!!!newsbf!not-for-mail Tue May  7 18:29:16 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW Ch 11 Part 1
Date: 29 Apr 1996 21:39:01 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 331
Message-ID: <4m3qvl$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995
Chapter 11: "Diversions" Part 1

    Despite Riker's reassurances that LaForge was actually another layer
of protection for them, Lara remained on the border of paranoia.  She had 
closeted herself for two days already in the deserted computer lab to
decrypt the stolen ILOC while Geordi gathered and passed along Fleet
communications which detailed increasing diplomatic tensions with the
Romulans, but mentioned Draemos not at all.  
    Riker, who wasn't sure what his function for this mission was anymore,
had decided to pose as a civilian defense advisor for the benefit of the
station personnel.  With Lara working intensively on her own, he needed a
diversion anyway.
    It was an easy, if ironic, pose.  It was what he would have done at
each of the perimeter bases in the sector had he been allowed to follow
his original orders.  Each of the bases had to update its defense plans,
though at Anaxagorus, the closing made it a moot exercise.  
    "It's just as well they're shutting down here, Mr. Stryker," McNeil
had opined earlier that day.  "You can't defend this place anyway. We
wouldn't get off more than a couple shots before being overwhelmed in an
attack.  You just can't generate enough power in the shields to hold off
the Romulans since the last upgrade of their disruptors."
    "Who said anything about the Romulans?"
    "Come on, sir, that's been the rumor for a month, now.  This place
would go like a sand castle in a tsunami."
     Stryker smiled,  "But you know, McNeil, you don't have to hold off
the enemy forever.  Just till the cavalry gets here.  The Stark or the
Northram is always close enough."
    "They'll need to come at full gallop 'cause circling the wagons isn't
going help. Let's face it, sir, this facility is obsolete. They could blow
it up for target practice. The only valuable things on this station are
the tools and equipment the scientists brought with them."
    "The valuable things on the Station are the scientists themselves," 
Stryker corrected him, "and the impressively dedicated crew you have here
to serve them."
     McNeil acknowledged the compliment, pleased that someone had
recognized them, but having started his rant, he wasn't quite ready to
give it up.
    "We're so pathetically unimportant now, I doubt the Romulans would
spend the energy to blow us up."
    "Trouble has a bad habit of appearing where you least expect it. If
you haven't got armament, at least you have to have a plan." 
    "What kind of plan?  It's futile to shoot. We can't maneuver out of
the way..."
     "Then we'll just have to bluff them."
    "With what?"  McNeil waved his hand dismissively at the dual reaction
chambers that took up nearly all of the dorsal sphere.  "This pair of
    Stryker eyed him keenly.  "You play poker, Lieutenant?"
    "Poker?"  McNeil shrugged innocently.  "I suppose I've played a few
rounds in my time."
    "Think we could scare up a few players for a game?"
    "Well, the Zakdorns are always looking for a little amusement.  And
I'll bet Lieutenant Commander LaForge plays cards."
    Mr. Stryker stroked the beard he'd decided to grow while away from
home on this assignment. "I'd bet on that." 
    So, after dinner that evening, the men sat down to cards.
    "Where's the little Russian who came in on the freighter with you?"
asked McNeil. "I was hoping she'd be game for this party, too."
    "She said she had work to do," Stryker explained.  
    "She said she's too busy," Morojon replied at the same time. 
    "You guys dropped in on her?" asked Stryker.
    "Jealous, Mr. Stryker?" Azedine inquired.
    "Curious," he laughed.  "Did she say how her project is coming?"
    "We have no idea," Azedine said.  "Her work is as foreign to us, I
suppose, as our work is to her."
    "She's a computer analyst, right?" Stryker's hand cradled his chin
speculatively. "You can't tell me you two aren't skillful at that."
    "Oh, in some specialized areas perhaps," Azedine waved his hand
dismissively.  "But she doesn't want our help."
    "Oh, no," Morojon chimed in.  "Some researchers are very secretive,
afraid someone will steal their idea."
    "Not at all like you guys," McNeil winked at LaForge as he turned to
the Zakdorns.  "Sorry as I am to see the place close,  I am ready to let
somebody else get a taste of your theories.  Every time you two come back,
I listen to you babble about this Kolari radiation.  It's been nearly two
years now, and I still can't figure out what you're up to."  He turned to
LaForge.  "Commander, do you have any idea what they're even talking
    "Sure," LaForge answered amiably.  "It's the stuff Professor Azedine
showed me about the transporter program that makes no sense at all."
      "You must explain that to me, too, sometime," Stryker grinned, but
his eyes sparkled with something more than mere amusement. 
    "Oh no, he's a terrible explainer," Morojon fussed. "Completely
obfuscates everything."
    "Kinda travels around in a big circle and goes nowhere?" Stryker's
finger traced a zero in the air.
    "Perhaps," Azedine said haughtily, "your figure better describes the
destination than the journey."
    In deference to a superior officer, even one undercover, LaForge tried
hard to keep a straight face.
    "We should have a farewell toast," said McNeil.  "To the best
integration of wacko scientists, engineering wizards and wiseguy civilians
this pile of duranium has seen in a long time."
    "Indeed!" Morojon endorsed.  "What are you drinking, gentlemen?  Not
synthehol?  Let Azedine make you a scotch.   He's the true wizard."
    Azedine took Morojon's tribute as his due, and called up the
programming routine for the replicator.  He accessed the manual input.  
    "Isn't that the hard way?"  Stryker asked.  Everyone put in some
favorite recipes manually, but for liquors, it was easier, if one had a
sample of the genuine article (and one often did), to let the computer
analyze and duplicate it.
    "You want to program each of the components separately," Azedine
instructed.  "If you leave it to the replicator program, it has to
minutely examine the chemical make-up of the scotch and then reproduce it
just as precisely, so that's two places to make mistakes.  Replicators
don't have the fidelity ratios of transporters, of course."   His
practiced fingers were a blur on the panel.  "Invariably, the single bit
errors occur over the crucial molecules that make the real thing so
distinctive.  In replicator scotch, for instance, you lose some of the
smoky quality of genuine single malts.  I prefer to integrate all the
component molecules myself."
    LaForge watched with something more than idle interest as five glasses
materialized on the counter.  Morojon passed them around.
    Stryker sipped from the glass Morojon had handed him.  He nodded
    The scientists exchanged congratulatory smiles. 
    "You guys are really good at this," Stryker said.  "If it turns out
that your machine can't polarize Kolari waves, you could always tend bar. 
I was just at a place where they'd  kill for talent like yours."
    Morojon coughed.  Azedine raised an eyebrow.  "Now all we need is that
toast," he remarked, clearing his throat. 
    Stryker held up his drink.  "Here's to integrated components," he
    "To the good ship Anaxagorus,"  LaForge endorsed. 
    "We're not a ship," Azedine said.
    LaForge just shrugged. "Well, it feels like one." The card players
clinked glasses and downed the scotch.
    "Deal the cards," McNeil said finally, rubbing his hands together.

    An hour later, McNeil was having his fourth glass of Azedine Special
Reserve, and amazingly, he was about 50 credits ahead.  He bluffed
terribly when he tried, but three-quarters drunk, he was absolutely
inscrutable, if also a bit incomprehensible.
    "I think he's not even aware when he's got lousy cards," Azedine
grumbled sotto voce.  He tossed his broken hand back at his partner.
    "It appears to be a successful strategy," replied Morojon.
    McNeil smiled inanely as he gathered his chips.  "Stragety, yeah! The
McNeil Maneuver--There's a plan."
    "And what plan are you going to give Admiral Christopher for the
defense of Anaxagorus, Mr. Stryker?" Azedine asked shuffling the cards for
the next deal.
    McNeil decided to answer for him.  He leaned across the table toward
the slim scientist.  "He's going to tell 'em that the place is
indefensible.  No decent armament.  Can't maneuver. We're gonna fold like
    "I think he means origami," Azedine speculated.
    "So what do you intend to do, my dear Duncan?" Morojon asked the
bleary lieutenant.
    McNeil took a moment to focus his vision on Morojon and then he
announced grandly, "I intend to throw the covers over my head, blow myself
up, and save the damn Romulans the trouble."
    Morojon was quite taken by McNeil's humor, laughing himself into
little fits.   Stryker hadn't found anything about McNeil's inebriate
state funny at all.  But LaForge suddenly sat upright and stared
transfixed at the groggy engineer. 
    "Duncan," he said intently, "I think you've got something there ..."
    Riker left the poker game early.  He had won enough hands to satisfy
his competitive urges, but overall he'd lost, which he didn't really mind
since it had been so satisfying to LaForge, but he was disturbed that
McNeil, technically the commanding officer, had managed to drink himself
under the table.  Good thing Geordi was de facto in charge. Still, it had
been an interesting evening.
    And that wild defense plan Geordi had spun off McNeil's outburst! 
Riker was half-tempted to write it down and submit it to Strategic just to
see whether they could tell that it was a plan with a Scotch
heritage--half engineer--half whiskey!
    He paused by one of the windows to watch the station rotate slightly
across the stars as though it were the planetary motion that begat a new
day.   Maybe tomorrow Lara would be finished.  Then he could say good-bye
to this mission.  Just a few more days till home. 
    Home?  Where was that?
    Without meaning to, his gaze wandered back from the opposite side of
the station along the line of interior windows.  He saw that Lara's
quarters were still lit.
    No, it was a bad idea.  He should leave it alone--it couldn't possibly
get anywhere.  Or was that the attraction?  Well, certainly, he didn't
want to lead her on.  And that's what it would be, wouldn't it?  He was
leaving.  His life was somewhere else.
    --where else?
    Or was his life, his chance, slipping by him unnoticed as it had done
before?  Wasn't it the truth that he and Lara were involved already?  He
cared about her, and she needed him. She wanted him. Why shouldn't they
make something out of that?  So it wasn't the same as it had been with
Deanna.   Nothing was.  So why did he always end up comparing it to Imzadi
. . .  

          The stars that night at Gennaron Falls had dusted the black
backdrop of space in numbers so dazzling, they sat and gazed in wonder. 
Settled in his arms she told him she understood why the stars were so
strong in him.  But that night, the stars oppressed him like a
premonition, and he claimed her with such fierce desire, she recoiled,
surprised and  afraid. And when he saw that the stars in her eyes had
turned into tears, he swore on those stars that he would never hurt her in
any way, and she vowed she would never doubt him.  Merged in body and
soul, making love while the stars wheeled round above them, they were too
young to understand the impossible promises of love.  
    Later, energies expended, they lay together, her head on his chest,
the two of them nestled on the ground beneath the overhanging cliff.  The
sound of water cascading down the rocks lulled them.  Her eyes, deep as
the dark pools of the grotto, finally closed, and her body became limp and
relaxed as she drowsed in the warmth of his arms.  He turned her over,
nesting the curves of her body into his, and he'd fallen asleep with her
folded in his caress . And never again had it been the same.  
    But was it really so different with Lara?  The pressure against his
shoulder, the feel of her arm draped over his chest in the cargo bay of
the Mateus, was the very thing.  He knew it intimately.  It was gravity,
the same force that space explorers had been fighting for eons.  To
conquer gravity  produced an ecstasy that must have been threaded into
their DNA from the beginning, a heady glory that came from the
transcendence of physical law.  The thrill of coursing through the stars
made gravity the enemy.
     He thought idly of Data and how he had attempted to explain these
feelings to the android.  Data would have been able to describe with
perfect mathematical precision the entire phenomenon of an embrace.  He
would have known the exact equation for the sensation of flesh against
flesh.  The exact 'n' it would take to separate them from the force of
gravity --the force of attraction between two bodies . . . 
    . . .  the force of attraction between two bodies . . .
    He could feel Lara's pull on him, but in another sense, he felt
adrift.  The accustomed force that had so long drawn him to the center of
his universe was missing.
    (Come on, Riker, that just means that there's nothing holding you
down.  No one to hold you in place anymore.  You can learn to be happy
with someone else.  She has.)
    Gravity.  How could something so insubstantial, so invisible, have
such power, exert such real physical force?  He had seen gravity tear
planets from molten suns, or send stars hurtling into each other, their
fiery collision destroying them both.  Gravity could pull so hard that
time and space wrinkled and even light couldn't escape.
    Which was the illusion?  Was gravity something you worked out in
equations, or was it her head on your shoulder?
    Riker walked down the corridor past his quarters.  He paused at the
doors of her cabin and the warm yellow light within.  Yellow like the sun
of home, not like the cold white starlight of space.  The pull was there,
the force of attraction between two bodies, the force at the center of the
universe.  The door opened at his chime.  A beam of soft luminescence
touched  him and drew him in.
    "Hiya, Righteous," she said turning her chair around from the three
terminals she was operating.  They continued their ceaseless pattern of
numbers scrolling across and down the three screens. "Where have you been?
What's the news?"
    "All quiet on all fronts," Riker said. "Yours too?" 
    "The program's still running.  One of these days the decryption is
going to locate the right code and then..."  She surveyed the clutter of
the past few days of crash work piled about her rooms except on the
rumpled sofa where she'd been catching catnaps, where he settled now. "I
was wondering when you would drop in."
    "Sorry I'm late," he said.  "I spent the evening with some friends of
    "Friends of mine?" she inquired innocently.
    "You remember, those wonderful people who brought you Jigsaw?  The two
    She came to him with a droll expression.  "I knew you'd be good at
this work."
    "I prefer poker."
    "Among other games."  She sat down and put her arms around him and his
kiss was not so much passionate as purposeful.
    "Tell me something," he said. "What do you figure on doing when the
program finally quits running?"
    "Why do you ask?"
    "I'll be going back for a reassignment that'll probably be a command. 
I'll have staff of my own to fill.  Since you'll be looking to
transfer.... " 
     She pulled him over to recline his head in her lap and she said, 
"Tell me something.  Did you ever think seriously about Intelligence,
    "What do you mean?"
    "I mean staying in the division."  
    He stared up at her in surprise.
    "It's not as crazy as you think.  Adjan can't cut it. Christopher
hangs on him like dead weight.  They've been looking to replace Adjan for
a while now, and the Intelligence brass aren't the sort to let their
feelings overcome their political ken.  Pressman himself wasn't
Intelligence, and it would be a bright political move to install a whistle
blower like you.  It would inspire some confidence that they were cleaning
up their act.  Besides, there are officers who supported what you did then
and will be impressed with what you did here.  Compare that to the command
line you're in--people who have no appreciation of you--Nechayev, Jellico,
    "Well, maybe I don't have much of an 'in' in the immediate ranks,
    "You have an 'in' here." She smoothed a finger along the regrown
beard.  "I appreciate your wanting to do something for me.  That's sweet,
but maybe there are things I could offer you... "  
    If he'd been negative at first, he looked like he might be warming to
the idea.  Her finger traced the line of his mouth. 
    "Go on and sell me," he said, nestling against her.
    "Well, for instance, do you how many women are available to
Intelligence officers?"  
    In an instant it all changed.  His body felt suddenly tight, and he
seemed to fumble for an answer.  He sat up slowly.
    In that same instant, the middle screen flashed and rolled to black,
and then, line by line, it began to compile an image. 
    The program had stopped running.
    She bolted up and stood in front of the active terminal, where the
decryption was finally complete and beginning to deliver the answer--the
answer from the ILOC that Nicky had died for.
    Riker stood behind her, peering over her shoulder as the lines built
downto form a grainy and indistinct picture.  
    And then the lines resolved, melting into sharper focus, becoming a
zoom scan of a planetary surface from a low-orbit imager.  The sensor eye
descended further, targeting an impact area in a jungle--broken foliage, a
long  burn zone, and then the wreckage.  Even lower now,  the sensor
panned a familiar curved surface, still graceful in her tattered, tragic
    Riker braced himself against the desk overshadowing Lara who dropped
into the empty chair. The screen began to display a footer which read out
data overlaying the visual. The writing was Romulan.
    "I'll get Adjan at the Starbase," he told her.
     The lines of text mounted on the Romulans' "target of opportunity."  
The Enterprise.


edu!!!!newsbf!not-for-mail Tue May  7 18:29:26 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW CH 11 Part 2
Date: 29 Apr 1996 21:39:04 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 277
Message-ID: <4m3qvo$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 11: "Diversions" Part 2

    Picard smiled to himself, throwing a glance at Innsbrook outside his
door, still at his desk.  He had to say he was impressed with the
improvement Innsbrook had made under the tutelage of Lieutenant Strauss. 
What Picard didn't know, but perhaps suspected, was that Innsbrook felt
impressed too, but in the eighteenth century sense of the word, when
sailors had been "pressed" into the naval service against their will. 
What Picard didn't even suspect was that to Innsbrook, the paperwork
wasn't half as bad as the fear of Strauss's big hands impressed all over
his anatomy. 
    Innsbrook could have counted the day over and done, but Strauss had
said he was to stay until Captain Picard was finished, and the captain was
still attending to a last few details when Innsbrook's face came up on his
    "Captain, Lieutenant Commander Worf would like to speak to you from
the Engineering Department."
    Innsbrook even screened his calls now.  "Put him through, Lieutenant."
    Worf had said he wanted to spend some time figuring out what had
caused the accident on the field trip.  Picard had heard the story about
their runabout's malfunction and how they'd set up a energy field to help
them out of the Rift until they could start the engines.  LaForge's
clearing the vessel had only made the Klingon more anxious to discover the
cause of their unwanted adventure.
    Picard touched the monitor and noted that Worf's familiar frown looked
several layers deeper tonight.
     "Our accident was not caused by a malfunction in the runabout, nor by
an anomaly in the Rift." Worf bluntly announced.
    "Then what?"
    "Wake turbulence," Worf said.  "The runabout was caught in the
backwash of a larger ship."
    Picard's eyes narrowed. "You're saying you were swamped by tetryon
emissions from a passing ship?" 
    "Excuse me, Captain Picard," Ariel Vuork slipped in beside Worf.  "The
idea just occurred to us. We were talking about the 'sail' the kids
devised and then sailing, generally.  And it clicked.  We just ran the
computer over it, Captain.  The readings match the hypotheticals we set
up.  We've checked it three times.  Same result each time." 
     "But how could that happen?" Picard's frown was clear even in the low
light.  "You were coming out of the Rift horizon, so a ship might not have
seen you, but in no way would you have failed to see it, unless--"
    "Only one way," Worf concluded. 
    "A cloaked ship?"  Picard asked ominously. "Coming through the Rift?"
    "It is the only part of the perimeter not regularly patrolled.  Rift
effects present severe, but not insurmountable, navigational problems,"
Worf answered with wry grimness.  "They also prevent our ships from
sweeping for emissions. Entry into Federation territory would be hard to
    "Could it be a Klingon ship?" Picard asked.
    "Unlikely, with such thrust dynamics."
    "The models indicate a very large ship," the teacher added. 
    Innsbrook was in the doorway.
    "Captain Picard, there's a call for Captain Adjan, but he's on a
mission incommunicado and can't be reached.  The caller says it's urgent,
and he'd be willing -- actually he looked anxious -- to talk to you
    "Very well," Picard said. "Mr. Worf, why don't you come up here and
we'll discuss this."  At Worf's nod, he switched off the channel and spoke
to Innsbrook.  "Who is it and regarding what?"
    "A Commander William Riker, and he's not being real forthcoming as to
what it's about."
    Picard took a moment and then, "Where is the message coming from?"
    "It's--that's odd!  There's no origination line. I can try tracing
    "Get Chief Mallory on it.  Now!"  Picard felt the knot in his stomach.
 "Put Commander Riker on."  
    His monitor cut to an image of his former first officer, who wore an
expression of urgency.
    "Captain," the image addressed Picard.  "I'm glad to see you!  Captain
Adjan isn't at the station or on the Stark?"
    "I'll handle your message, Number One."
    "I know you weren't expecting to hear from me, but there was a change
in my mission orders, and, to make a long story short, I have important
intelligence that needs immediate action."
    "And what might that be?"
    There was a second's pause, the drive of Riker's narrative stumbling
for a moment before it resumed.  "There's a Romulan intrigue planned --or
maybe even in progress right now --against the Enterprise."
    "Go on."
    "I was diverted from my initial orders.  They sent me from the Stark
to Draemos with a Central Intelligence officer where we recovered a
Romulan dispatch, information that she's been able to decode, about a plot
to infiltrate and compromise the Galaxy class technology."
    "Rumors are prevalent these days.  The Enterprise is under a security
shield on Veridian as it has been since our evacuation.  We have a number
of sites to defend."     
    The familiar countenance looked at him worriedly.  "Captain, you need
to order ships out to reinforce the site --put more security down there,
our own security if need be, make sure they can't get at her!"
    "You're suggesting that I shift defenses from the Starbase to
    He counted his heartbeats as the image stared back at him. "Captain? 
What's wrong?"
    A voice off-screen interrupted. "What's wrong is he thinks he's
talking to a dead man, Will."
    Riker's eyes shifted toward the voice.  "What?"
    The monitor now picked up the intense gaze of a young woman who
smoothed back her straight blond hair as she stared hard into Picard's
closed expression.
    "Or maybe a hologram that I devised, right Captain?"
    "What the hell's going on?" Riker's voice demanded.     Picard made no
answer, but listened as Lieutenant Commander Lara Kirov explained for
Riker but spoke to Picard, gauging his reaction to each word.
    "I didn't bother to tell you, Will, but when we left Draemos, my team
materialized a quantity of cytoplasm where the Romulans expected us to
turn up.  It was safer than letting everyone at Intelligence know we had
recovered the dispatch.  The Suari reported my little diversion as a
transporter accident caused by our own malfeasance.  My team cleaned it up
before Starfleet could verify, so we should be listed as missing, presumed
dead, since five days ago.  However, the Romulans were right on the spot. 
They got the only sample.  I'm sure they checked it and found that the
soup they collected couldn't possibly be us. The Romulans are the only
ones who should think we're still alive. 
    She smiled, a faint twist of her mouth.  "And so, Captain Picard, you
sit there at the Starbase chatting with your old first officer, and even
though you're suspicious, you're not the least surprised.  Now how could
that be?  Only one way, Captain:  whoever you've been talking to, whoever
told you we were still this side of eternity, knows something only a
Romulan could know--and now I want to know who that is."
    Picard considered the deadly look on the other side of the screen. 
Ruthless, she'd been called.  Clever, a specialist with computer systems,
someone who could conjure up Riker's image and imitate his voice with
ease, especially if she'd had the living model in her hands. A woman with
an obsession about Romulans.
    "It's an interesting story, Commander Kirov.  One wonders whom to
    "Who's your other choice?" 
    "But perhaps this story is just an elaborate diversion itself?  Like
abandoning the Starbase and chasing off to Veridian?"
    "Captain!"   He was looking at Riker's image again. "The other choice,
if you don't believe my story, if you won't believe ME,  is to let the
Enterprise fall into enemy hands.  What's going to happen to the fleet if
the Romulans are allowed to rape the Enterprise?  Right now, I'm looking
at a translation in Romulan of the layout of MY ship.   Right now, I'm
looking at Admiral Christopher's order okaying the retention of the
computer with the bridge tactical systems."
    "The bridge systems?" Picard repeated.
    "He didn't tell you he did that?  The whole dispatch--it contains
detailed information about the entire salvage and recycle operation!  The
threat is real, Captain.  We were pursued on Draemos by Romulans."
    "Captain," Kirov said, "Who gave you your orders? Was it Admiral
    Picard turned his attention back to Kirov with impassive regard, but
Riker, who had fastened on him in desperation, looked up suddenly, and
with odd intensity said, "Well, he's an admiral and you're a captain, and
I can't force you to disobey his orders.  I'll just have to trust that you
won't allow them to put the Enterprise at unnecessary risk."
    Picard's eyes locked to Riker's.  "Will," he said, "where are--" but
the screen erupted in static, and he lost their signal.

    Lieutenant McNeil, feeling a little unsteady and a lot surly, got into
the lift muttering to himself that this had better be good.  There he was
with two pair, aces and eights, when Ensign Fleischer broke in on the
intercom to tell him he was needed immediately in OPS.  And when he asked
what was so urgent, the kid had insisted with a riled tone that it was a
rulebook situation he couldn't discuss over the com system.  So McNeil had
had to ditch his hand and come all the way down.
    That was the trouble with Tommy Fleischer: straight arrow all the way.
 He had come to Anaxagorus two months ago fresh from his very first tour
of duty, on the Hood.  That explained a lot to McNeil.   Fleischer had
read Admiral Ranier's memorandum calling for increased vigilance on all
outposts, short of alert status, and he'd suggested to McNeil that they go
by the book: put up the station shields and use the security protocols. 
McNeil had okayed it because he never imagined that it would make any
difference one way or the other.
    The lift stopped with a lurch that made McNeil's brain feel like a wad
of elastic bands, but when the door slid open-- instant sobriety.  Captain
Adjan and two security officers were standing in front of him. 
    Fleischer was looking prickly and Adjan, stormy.  There was no doubt
in McNeil's mind that Fleischer had put the captain through the whole
security routine,  melding Adjan's ship through the shield so as not to
have to lower their guard for transport.  Adjan must have had to dock and
walk all the way here.  McNeil got ready to be pounced on.
    "Lieutenant," Adjan said brusquely, "You have these two persons on
station at present?"  He handed McNeil a padd that showed two service
ID's.  "Intelligence operatives, working undercover.  I've come to take
them under protection back to the Starbase."
    "Yes, sir." McNeil's brain was in overdrive trying to cope with all
the surprises: Adjan's unexpected presence on the station, his guests'
real identities and his not getting chewed out for Fleischer's obstinacy. 
He was also trying to stand steady enough to pass casual inspection by
Adjan.  The captain waited and then asked impatiently, "Where are they?"
    "Oh, yes, sir!  Right this way, sir!"
    He froze.  It wasn't his imagination. Adjan was giving him the fish
eye.  In another minute he'd be vapor. 
    "That won't be necessary, Lieutenant.  It's a delicate situation we
have here, possibly dangerous.  Just tell me where they are.  I'll
announce myself."  One of the guards took a position by the door trading
scowls with Fleischer. "You and the ensign will remain here until our
vessel has passed back through the shield.  THEN you may consider yourself
    "Yes, sir," McNeil croaked.
    "By the way," Adjan said.  "We noticed on the way into the dock that
there's an emitter broken on your long-range com array."
    "Yes, sir.  I'll have it checked out right away, sir."  McNeil stood
there sweating, praying it was over.
    Adjan waited. "Well?" he growled, "Where are they?" 

    Lara punched frantically at the keypad.
    "McNeil!" Riker shouted, slapping his combadge even though the
computer should have had no difficulty responding to voice command.
    The door opened, but it wasn't McNeil.
    Adjan stood there, with a security officer behind him, both with
phasers drawn.   
       "We're experiencing technical difficulties," he said.  "Please
stand over there." He entered the room and motioned them away from the
terminals. A quick visual inspection told him that only Riker and Kirov
were there.  Too bad.  He'd have liked to pick up LaForge, but that damned
ensign had already made it hard enough.  What he'd caught here would do.
He came to the active terminal and examined the image of the Enterprise
glowing into the semi-darkened room. 
    Lara watched him with a predator's bitter eyes.  "You!" she said.
"You're the Romulan informer!"
    He glanced over at her unperturbed.  "Contrary to what you've always
maintained, Lara," he remarked, "there are some Vulcans who want to claim
the Romulan relationship: those poor, pitiable Vulcans who aren't pure
enough, not in-bred enough to buy the half-life that true Vulcans lead. 
They could be true Vulcans -- they would be allowed the honor if they cut
out heart and soul and lived wholly for the Great God Logic -- but they
can't quite castrate themselves emotionally.  Vulcans like me, half
breeds, or perhaps I should say hybrids.  Hybrids always wind up being
stronger than either parent stock.  Yes, I'm with the Romulans. Where else
would a Vulcan with passion be?"  
    He was looking at the operations log and noting the time when the file
had been completed. "Looks like I got here just in time.  You have our
    He pulled out the ILOC from which it had been read, turned it over in
his hands, and then carelessly tossed it back on the counter.  Oddly, he
made no attempt to delete the information in the computer file.
    "You had this information all along," Riker said. "Why did you chase
us all over Draemos for it?"
    "Not for that ILOC," Adjan corrected him.  "It was the other one."
    He reached into the phaser holster and produced another ILOC. 
Flashing in the light, two large cracks could be seen.  It was the ILOC
Lara had smashed underfoot and kicked into the grate at the transport
center on Draemos.  "We had the target, but you had the new weapon. 
That's what we needed you to retrieve.  If I'd thought you had a copy of
your own, we wouldn't have put you to the trouble.  It's just that Nicky
died insisting it was his original, exclusive property.  Well . . .  he
always was a braggart."
    She lunged for him, but the security officer stepped in, backing her
up with a phaser rifle while Adjan trained his weapon on Riker.
    "Enough now," Adjan said.  "We don't have a lot of time."
    "For what?" Riker asked.  "What do you want with us?"
    "Consider yourself lucky, Commander. I intend to save you."
    The card game was on hiatus, with only three players left.  Maybe it
was over.  LaForge got up to stretch. 
    Morojon tilted his chair back and sighed contentedly. "Perhaps we all
ought to call it a night.  What do you say, Geordi?" he called over to
LaForge who stood by the window craning his neck and standing on tiptoe.
    "I thought I saw a ship out there," he said, "but the station's
rotated, so the view's gone."  He frowned. "What were you saying?"
    "There's a ship coming in?  At this hour?" Azedine asked.  
    La Forge touched his combadge. "La Forge to Mr. Stryker?"  There was
nothing but a dull buzz.  
      "You mean Commander Riker?" McNeil appeared next at the  doorway,
sweaty with nervous exhaustion.  He flopped into his seat at the table
with an air of irritation.  "He and Commander Kirov just left with Captain
Adjan. You know, you might have told me--"
    McNeil was the only one facing the window when the entire view
wrinkled and disgorged a ship, a very large ship.
    The shields held for seventeen minutes and thirty-four seconds against
the disruptor barrage of the Romulan Condor, and then Anaxagorus went up
in a brilliant display of light  that could be read all the way back to
Starbase 191.

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Tue May  7 19:38:38 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW Ch 12 Part 1
Date: 1 May 1996 23:06:12 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 308
Message-ID: <4m98r4$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 12  "The Jigsaw" Part 1

   Data was just as glad that Counselor Troi had caught an early ride home
and left him on his own at the construction platform above Veridian.  He
needed the time to think.  It was harder to think, he discovered, when he
felt the way he did.  "Just as glad" didn't amount to very glad at all.   
   He could add another failure to the list.  Since they had moved to the
Starbase, he had managed to insult the Captain, offend Worf, and estrange
himself somehow even from Geordi.  And now the "help" he was supposed to
give Deanna had nearly defeated the mediation, and his careless comments
had probably cost him her regard as well.  His efforts to use his emotions
had him doing things every bit as inappropriate as throwing Dr. Crusher
overboard on the holodeck, which  he had done without the benefit of
feelings.  The truth was that he was having trouble seeing any benefit to
having emotions, particularly the emotions he had now.  If he had to
guess, he would have said he was depressed.  
   For a few hours, while he worked on the Suari's transporter problem, he
had felt all right.  For at least a little while, everything had seemed
simpler.  Everything had felt normal.  Technology, no matter how complex,
didn't bother him at all.  Humanity, he could not get the hang of. 
   In these early morning hours, he was taking a break from his labors. 
He had not slept, but sometimes, not to be human was convenient. He
recalled, however, that humans sometimes developed insomnia when they had
problems to think over.  
   How distressing that he seemed to do better when he had no emotion! 
People had trouble accepting him at first, but they found ways to relate. 
Now that he was finally a complete human analog, he was putting off his
closest friends.  What was the problem?   He could not compute it. 
Another stupid pun?  Insufficient Data?
   He left the top floor of the construction platform which housed the
spartan habitation area. There was almost no one there; most of the
salvage crew chose to stay at the Starbase since the commute was under two
hours even at Warp 3.  The lack of companionship, for once, was fine with
him; he didn't want to run into anyone and have to be sociable. 
   The first shift was on in the middle level, the operations deck, a
lacework of duranium where the actual de-construction was proceeding. 
Here he could wander around without concern.   Here among the power
generators, the template computers, and the macro-transporters--all the
equipment for synthesizing building materials in space--why did he feel
comfortable here?  
   They were all machines. 
   He walked through the squared-off ductwork and rounded conduit lines. 
Optical cable snaked everywhere in the duranium jungle gym of support
columns and braces through which could be seen the black, star-fleckled
space at the ends of the broad plain of the operations floor.  The whole
area was sealed from the vacuum of space with the usual energy field, but
the deck seemed eerily open and coldx.  When he was an emotionless
intellect, he knew that he was open and cold like this place, but he had
never felt his own naivete or detachment.  
    He came upon the salvage crew at the macro-transporters and he stood
off a bit watching as a batch of the atomized matter from the Enterprise
arrived for disposal in the tank.  The transporter relays made a rushing
noise like surf crashing on a rocky shore, intermittently subdued as the
transporter recycled, building power for the next matter transmission.  In
synch with the random modulation program of the Enterprise's computer, the
ACB melded with the Enterprise's security shield and allowed them to
transport through the energy field...which was, ironically, the same
matching frequency principle that had allowed the Duras' sisters to hit
the Enterprise though her shields and cause the core breach that had
downed her below.
   He watched the annular confinement beam from the transporter merge with
the field over the tank, and as the blue light faded, the cover field
coalesced again and left the matter that had once been the Enterprise
sparkling in its subatomic state below the solid surface.
     It was hopeless, he decided.  How could he understand the intricacies
of all this and not manage the simple mechanics of friendship?  He was
tired of trying.  He should do it now, before the reassignments were
finalized:  ask to be assigned away to some remote place where he would
never have to see anyone from the Enterprise again.
   He turned to go back upstairs and nearly fell over one of the Zakdorn
technicians, a data clerk, who was standing very quietly right beside him,
evidently waiting to talk to him.
   "Mr. Data?  I wondered if you could give me a hand?  There's some kind
of problem with the subspace communications relay."
   "What is the problem?"
   "I don't know exactly.  I was going to put out a call to a friend of
mine at Heraclides, but I couldn't establish a subspace link.  I've
checked the signal and we seem to be outputting, but I can't raise anybody
anywhere on the com system."
   It occurred to Data that it was far more probable that nothing  was
wrong with the system.  It might be just human error.  Or rather, Zakdorn
error.  The Zakdorns were incredibly fussy, but that sometimes got in
their way, making things more complicated than they needed to be.  Logic
demanded that he consider the possibility that the data clerk was himself
the problem. Emotion (his irritability) urged him to voice it. But it was
something else that told him he should not consider it aloud. 
    "It is not subspace interference if you can send no communications
anywhere.  It is more likely something wrong with the transmitter array--
if it is an equipment failure."  
   "Could you come take a look?"
   "Yes, of course."  That is what you are good for, Data.  Communicate
with the other machines.  Stick to what you can do.  "I would be happy
to--that is, I will help you."
   They walked silently up to the communications office, which was empty,
and Data sat down at one of the terminals.  
   "You are correct," Data pronounced after just a minute.  "There is
something wrong with the system."
   "I said that," the Zakdorn scowled at him. 
   Data chose not to respond in kind. It was not so hard.  Being depressed
put a damping field on your emotions.  "I think I can get a sensor
reading, however, if I boost power and change frequency."   
   Despite his hypothesis about the transmitter array, he reasoned that he
might as well rule out any subspace disturbances.  He began a sweep of the
triangle made by Veridian, the Starbase and Anaxagorus, the nearest of the
   The scan was clear to the Starbase.  He swung the sensors along the
other ray of the angle.  
   The sound output crackled and hissed. The visuals glimmered like the
iridescence that hydrocarbons spread upon water, a sickly swirling rainbow
trailing outward from a point in the direction of Anaxagorus.
   "Can you see what's wrong with the com system?"  the Zakdorn technician
asked him.
   "No," said Data.  His voice faltered. "Nor can I see Anaxagorus."

   The Romulan Condor emerging from warp in the Veridian system was not
quite an extinct bird.  A huge carrier vessel, it had been built at a time
when military strength was based on squadrons of small fighters that could
be deployed against cruiser-sized ships.  The tactic was passe; most of
the Condors had been moth-balled, but one or two had been briefly
refurbished during the Borg threat when swarming the cubical hive with
innumerable small targets seemed like a possible defense.  But then the
Borg had not returned, the new fighters had not been commissioned, the big
ships languished for want of use.
   The huge landing bay of the Condor Orcheris contained but one small
craft, the UFP Sullivan, the luxurious frippery of a yacht that Admiral
Jeremy Christopher had ordered for the Station Commandant of Starbase 191.
 Designed and equipped for pleasure cruising, it had no military value and
the only things of strategic importance it had ever contained were sitting
at the table in the conference room of the Condor, where Commander Komal
smiled at his "guests."
    "The wreck of the Enterprise presented us with a truly unique
opportunity--quite a prize, with her systems left intact till the final
cremation . . . "
   With a sick sense of deja-vu, Riker glanced at the viewscreen image of
the Veridian system.  The bridge tactical ILOCs, Riker thought.  All the
technology of the Galaxy class starships open to the Romulans, even some
Nova prototypes in the last updates that Geordi had installed two months
ago.  With their secrets revealed, the Galaxy class ships would be
compromised, at the mercy of the Warbirds.  
   "We might have barged in and tried to take her by main force, but
quietly is so much better, right Commander?"  He turned to Riker.  "L'Ursa
and B'Etor, I'm sure, taught you all how much more damage you can inflict
when you have information that no one is aware you have."
   "It's already in the open, Komal.  Captain Picard knows what's going
on.  I told him myself."  Make him think it over; delay till the Captain
can arrive with the cavalry.
   "Captain Adjan?"  Commander Komal turned to Adjan seated at his right. 
Adjan had been sitting there quietly focusing on Lara.  He didn't respond
immediately.  He seemed to have drifted off for a second.  Riker felt a
sudden chill in the familiarity of his expression.  It was the sort of
look Deanna wore when she was openly using her empathic sense.
   Adjan returned with a slight smile. "A very good bluff, Commander. I
think you've even convinced yourself.  But I don't get the impression from
Commander Kirov that Captain Picard was persuaded."
   "Even if the redoubtable Jean-Luc Picard were inclined to have a look 
out here, what would he see?" Komal asked rhetorically.  "Nothing.  I
expect that he, like everyone else, will be picking over the debris of the
Anaxagorus Outpost."
   It took a moment before Riker could quell the outrage enough to speak. 
"What about the people on that station?" 
   "It couldn't be helped," Adjan answered.
    "You're a murderer and a traitor," Lara snarled at him. "You betrayed
my brother.  He trusted you and you killed him!"
   "Your brother's death was an accident," Adjan insisted, as if he were
correcting a point of grammar. "If he'd surrendered the program, he'd have
   Komal picked up from the table the isolinear optical chip with the
ragged crack in it.   "Clever little program he devised.  Who'd have
thought you could seep through a defensive shield? I understand why you
couldn't take Commander Kirov's version of the program with you--half of
you would have been mailed to Draemos--but it was a careless way to
discard something so valuable.  I'm glad we retrieved it in time for the
   "Doesn't look to me like you retrieved much of anything," Lara said.
   "Yes, it is battered, but we have the information copied to other
   "Really?  Why don't I think so?  If you really had Jigsaw, you'd have
already gone to Veridian and come back while I was working out the
encryption on the dispatch.  Instead, you were looking for us.  The very
fact that we are sitting here now says that you don't have it."
   "Partly true," Komal acceded. "Time is of the essence. The Enterprise
will be completely wiped from existence in the next twenty-four hours.
She'll be a skeleton by sunset on Veridian tonight.
   "We've been sitting here running out of time for a few days now, having
figured out your program to a point. Specifically, to about there." He
pointed to the crack. "Luckily, Captain Adjan managed finally to locate
     "You can examine our reconstruction efforts for yourself," Komal
invited.  "There are a few missing codes and our computer has worked out
the half dozen or so that are most likely, but each possible solution
needs a test,  and you know how time-consuming testing can be.  We'd
prefer not to wait, so we're going to perform just one test that I think
may prove a number of things."  He nodded at Adjan.
   "Commander Riker will be sent down using their best possibility. What
do you think, Lara?"
   Lara blanched, but Riker simply shrugged.  "Fine. I'll take my chances
on going in a transporter malfunction.  I'm not going to leave this ship
in any better shape, am I?"
   "Well, under normal circumstances, Romulan Intelligence would want to
hold extended conversations with you, but I'm authorized to make a deal,
if Lara is willing to cooperate."
   Komal nodded his certification.
   "Don't do it, Lara."  Riker said.  "Tell them it's no deal. Think what
they'll do to the Fleet and the Federation with that information."
   "Isn't he valiant and loyal?" Adjan said sardonically. "But you counted
on that all along, didn't you, Lara?" 
   "We can't let him go, you understand, but we can let him live.  Help
us, and we might even be able to play you back as a double agent.  You
could keep Commander Riker on Romulus.  A nice little love nest," Komal
   Riker was about to say something, but Adjan preempted him.  "Yes,
Commander, but consider: how gallant is it to say right in front of the
lady in question that you'd rather die here and now?"
   Lara had been looking steadily down into her hands folded in her lap. 
Her face, when it rose, was empty.
   "All right," she said.  "I'll do it for you."
   "Lara, you can't do this," Riker entreated her.
   She ignored him, looking dead at Adjan.
   "Excellent!" Komal declared.  "Jarneth and Ankhet will show you where
you can make any adjustments to--what did you call it? Jigsaw?"
   She left with two burly Romulan guards and Riker sat alone at the table
while Adjan and Komal exchanged words out of his hearing.  Komal left
without appearing entirely satisfied and Adjan turned back to Riker, who
stared straight ahead.
   Guarding your thoughts, Commander?  Adjan mused.  I'm not that good an
empath, let alone a telepath.  I miscalculated your relationship with Lara
entirely.  Were you deluded, too, that she'd fallen in love with you?  I
wonder if Lara Kirov is even capable of that emotion.  She agreed, not out
of any concern for you, but because she knows that if she refused, we'd
use you both for the tests, and probably get it wrong both times. 
Refusing to cooperate, there'd be a better chance that we wouldn't get
anywhere, but the down side is:  there'd be no chance at all for her to
kill me.  Because that's what she wants most, Commander.  Unfortunately
for you, I see no way in hell that she can, so I'll take the bet, in
exchange for the certainty of getting at the Enterprise.
   Adjan glanced at the viewscreen as they made orbit around Veridian. 
   "Well, Commander, barring divine intervention, your ship will finally
be ours."
   "Don't rule heaven out, Adjan.  I've said before that God keeps a
reserve squad of angels just to look out for ships named Enterprise."
   Adjan laughed. "If you'd like to pray, go ahead, but I wouldn't expect
an avenging angel, if I were you.  Particularly not a bald-headed one."   

   Aboard the Stark, Commander Vera Aranchez was doing the last checks
preparatory to getting underway.  The entire sector had gone to alert when
Anaxagorus went up like a miniature nova, and ships were scrambled
everywhere to the defense of the other establishments and especially to
the site of the disaster.  The Stark's personnel, many of whom were on
shore leave at the Starbase, had been hastily reassembled on board by
emergency order of Captain Picard.  Aranchez felt a little hastily
reassembled herself.
   In fact, on top of nervousness at the prospect of responding to the
emergency at the devastated outpost, the entire bridge crew seemed dazed
and a bit over-awed.  He was only a captain, she reminded herself, only a
rank above her.  Jean-Luc Picard might be the the most renowned captain in
the fleet, but the Stark was still her ship, and she was damned if she was
going to kowtow to a reputation.  Her job was to remain cool, even if
everyone else was keyed up about leading the charge to Anaxagorus, and she
was decidedly cool on that course of action. 
   "Captain Picard, my orders are from Admiral Christopher, directing the
Stark to remain at the Starbase in its defense until his return."
   The answer was peremptory. "Neither Rear Admiral Christopher nor
Captain Adjan is here, Mr. Aranchez.  That leaves me in command."
   No question of that.  "May I ask if they can be reached?"  
   The Klingon lieutenant commander at tactical shifted his considerable
muscle as if he were disposed to dispense some Klingon discipline, but
Picard himself was not offended by her question.  His expression softened,
and he stopped his preparations to regard her fully. "I'm sorry, 
Commander, it's feared that they were also lost at Anaxagorus.  Please
continue with the cast off."
   She watched him exchange a look with the red-haired medical officer who
sat to his left. The impassive face, steeled against grief, let go for a
instant as it met the declaration of faith in her eyes.  Aranchez realized
then what he must feel.  Her head lowered.  She had lost two superior
officers, people she knew only slightly, for whom she had provided an
on-again, off-again service, but he had crew there, people who were in his
charge.  On top of having lost his ship, two of his senior staff were
missing at Anaxagorus. The preliminary reports indicated that the entire
place had been obliterated with its skeleton crew still aboard.  
   But they were gone, she told herself sternly, already a piece of the
past, Picard's officers, Adjan and Christopher, too, and a good First
Officer needed to get by what was past so as not to jeopardize the future.
   "Excuse me, sir, I don't intend any disrespect, but what if the attack
on Anaxagorus is just a diversion for a strike at the Starbase?"
   "Quite correct, Mr. Aranchez.  We want to cover all possibilities. 
That's why we will wait another ten minutes till the Farragut comes in,
and then we'll be on our way.  Mr. Worf, are we fully armed?"
   The Klingon continued battle preparations. "Aye, sir."
    Aranchez knew she might get her head handed to her, but she swallowed
hard.  "Captain Picard, I hope you'll indulge me --don't you think there
are already enough ships responding to Anaxagorus?  Two ships will be
there well ahead of us."
   "Yes, I'm aware of that.  Lay in a course to the Veridian system."
   She swung around in complete surprise.
   "Veridian III, " he said.  "Warp Nine.  Gather senior staff.  I'll
brief them on our way."

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Tue May  7 19:38:46 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW Ch 12 Part 2
Date: 1 May 1996 23:06:13 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 303
Message-ID: <4m98r5$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 12 "The Jigsaw" Part 2

    Adjan checked on Kirov's progress with the technicians in the yacht's
transporter room, and then he proceeded to his quarters on the upper level
of the Condor.  He opened the locked door to look in on his own prisoner.
    She sat on the lounge where he had left her, but no doubt she had
struggled to escape.  She looked tired and disheveled, the heat of
exertion in her face.  He thought she looked utterly beautiful.  He sat
beside her and reached around behind her to undo the bonds, stirred by the
closeness of her body.  He wanted to touch her, run his hands over his
possession, but she shuddered and recoiled at the slightest contact and
once freed, she stumbled to her feet and backed away from him as far as
the room allowed.
    "I'm sorry to make you so uncomfortable, but we couldn't have you
playing about in here.  Someone can be spared to look after you now.  I'm
sure you understand."
    "I don't understand anything, except that you killed him."
     Admiral Christopher's body had been properly blasted and jettisoned
into the refuse they'd made of Anaxagorus.  That was the cover story: 
they had all died in a sneak attack on the derelict outpost.  Komal's crew
seemed, however, to have overdone it with too much firepower.  The debris
was so wide-flung,  and in such tiny pieces, they probably needn't have
gone to the trouble to add enough extra mass to account for the yacht, let
alone the insignificant organic compounds of Rear Admiral Jeremy
Christopher.  He knew he should have disposed of her the same as
Christopher, but he hadn't.  He desired her.  He wanted to save her.  As a
Romulan officer, he had the right to claim a prisoner as a war prize,
though Komal had argued it with him.  It was an ancient custom, but he
could cite modern examples.  For example, Commander Sela who had pushed
this project, who waited just across the Neutral Zone for them, her own
mother had been a war prize.
    He folded his hands in his lap, a business-like gesture while she
stood across the small room, more defiant, he thought, than afraid.  "I
know you feel angry--justifiably.  But why don't you consider the
situation coldly,  rationally, instead of just feeling it?  They're not
too happy about your being here.  You could use an advocate.  You said you
weren't the sort of woman who would trade herself for a professional
favor, but   I wondered if there were any sort of bargain you would be
willing to make."
    The look he got was pure hatred.
     "Well," he sighed, as he called in the guard.  The negotiations would
have to wait.  Right now, he had other matters to attend to.   "Perhaps
something will occur to you. Think about it." 

    Picard made ready for the meeting.  He didn't have much time.  ETA
thirty minutes.  He rehearsed the words that he would say to the assembled
senior staff of the Stark.  But other words echoed in his head, the words
that Riker had thrown at him to convince him.  They were his own.  
    They were the angry words he'd used a year ago to dismiss Riker when
he had refused to divulge information about the Pegasus mission.  Picard 
had reminded Riker of the trust he reposed in him as his First Officer. 
He'd threatened to remove him from that position if he felt that trust
    In memory he saw again his Number One through Locutus's eyes as Riker
told the Borg that he had never lied to his captain.  It was not just a
personal trust; it was a bond they had shared through the Enterprise, a
bond they had together to the ship.  And what was the Enterprise?  Not the
hull of duranium that lay on the surface of Veridian and not the bridge
systems, but the people. They were his Enterprise. Wherever they would be
in the years to come, this plot he was racing to intercept was a threat to
them and to everything they had worked for.   Riker had given him back his
words as  an assurance, but they were also a challenge:  keep faith with
me; protect the Enterprise. 

    Picard's Number One sat cross-legged on the floor of the yacht's
transporter, his back to the group.  They had bound his wrists and ankles
together to make certain he would remain immobile. Then they tagged a
badge to the shoulder of his uniform and scrambled down off the platform. 
Lara, standing at the console, had already remotely accessed the
Enterprise transporter through the Jigsaw.     
    "We've attached our own communications utility, so we'll be able to
tell if you've been successful," Adjan said to Lara. "I think we're ready
to test your program now."
    "Lara," Riker raised his voice over his shoulder, "Don't do it.  Don't
give them access to the Enterprise."
    "You'll be all right, Will," she told him.  "Don't worry.  See you
     Riker looked up into energizing coils in the ceiling above him.  He
breathed in deeply, calming himself, and irrationally he thought of
Deanna.  Last thoughts?   Funny.  Once, long ago, she'd said that she was
the last thing he ever thought of.  
    He felt the seconds tick by and then it began.  First the vague
perception of sound not quite there. And then, a tingling in his limbs. In
slow motion, he felt the field engulfing him.  His body became brittle and
folded up.  His vision melted away, and his obstructed view of Lara, Adjan
and the shadowy Romulans beyond them vanished from his sight as he
disappeared from theirs.
    Adjan waited, checking the sensor readout from the badge they had
attached to Riker.
    "Very good, Commander Kirov," he said at last.  "It seems we have a
life form below."
    Riker materialized in Transporter Room 3 on board the Enterprise.  He
wasn't sure that he was grateful.  Dying might have been easier.  The
disorientation was much more severe this time.  His body seemed to ache
    Hunched over, his hands already growing numb from the cut circulation,
he looked around as best he could.  The dematerialization of the
Enterprise was well underway.  Two of the structural walls that held ducts
and conduits were still in place, but only the skeletal structure of the
dividing walls to the hallway remained. The next round of
dematerialization would probably take everything but the exterior shell. 
    He spoke to the computer, a futile effort.  It did not answer.  He sat
there in the dead quiet, waiting.  Suddenly, the hairs on his arms rose. 
He thought he could perceive a high-pitched whine almost out of the range
of his hearing.  But it was a sound much more powerful than Jigsaw.  A 
huge rushing noise billowed up around him, overwhelming him.  And then,
through the exposed walls he saw it:  the air became brilliant, and the
blue light descended like a waterfall, engulfing the adjoining room,
obscuring everything from sight.  
    And when it had cleared, he saw that the dematerialization beam had
taken everything.  The Enterprise was being devoured.  
    A minute later Adjan arrived, alone.  He seemed for a moment to
examine himself and then he signaled the Condor. They were being very
    The final group arrived:  one Terran, who wore an ensign's uniform; 
one Romulan guard with disruptor rifles; and Lara.  The Romulan marched
her off the platform and through the door without even glancing at him.
Adjan and the Terran remained behind. 
    "Now, we're going to have to hurry along, Commander. We have a tight
schedule. Everyone has to pitch in."
    "I think I've been about as much help to you as you're going to get,
Adjan," he said calmly.  If they were going to try it the other way
around, threaten him with Lara's safety, they wouldn't succeed.  He knew
already that as much as he cared for Lara, his first duty was to the ship.
    While Adjan kept his weapon trained on Riker every moment, the ensign
freed him.  He remained seated on the floor rubbing his chaffed wrists and
fighting down the dizziness and the ringing in his ears.  
    Adjan's attention suddenly shifted.  Riker listened to the ringing
which was now behind him.  Another transport.  He twisted around.
    Will's heart froze when he saw her, manhandled by a Romulan twice her
size, hauled down with one hand gripping her upper arm, her long dark hair
tangled in his fist.
    Her depthless eyes met his with a plea. Imzadi, don't do it.  Don't
help them, she thought to him.
    As Adjan stared dumbfounded at her, the Romulan remarked, "Komal 
anticipated that you'd need to provide some motivation."  He shoved her at
    She drew herself up to face him. "You should have told him that
Starfleet officers don't work that way, Captain.  Neither of us is going
to help you." 
    The Romulan answered by grabbing her and slapping her.       
    The disruptor against his throat held Riker on the floor while Adjan
considered him.
    "Counselor Troi sort of fell in with us."  Adjan took her gently away
from the Romulan but held on to her wrist.  He spoke slowly, deliberately,
as though recovering from shock. "It's very difficult for me to use my
poor telepathic skills, being only part Betazoid," he announced taking her
chin in his hand and examining her bruised cheek.  His lips came close to
her ear then, and he whispered to her, "On the other hand, the current of
emotion is very strong and clear between--Imzadi?  Is there a bargain that
occurs to you?"
    He could feel her freeze.  Those liquid eyes looked into his with
    "Your skills are much better than mine,"  he said aloud.  "I want you
to use them now.  I want you to know for yourself and to verify for the
Commander that I really don't want to hurt any of you.  But I have my
duty, too, and I must see it done.  If you cooperate with me, you will all
survive this.  Am I telling the truth?"   
    As though mesmerized, she stared back at him.  She said nothing, but
her silence assented to his vow. Whether she had assented to the bargain,
he was not quite sure, but he knew now how to press his negotiations.
    "Very well," he said politely, "let's go to the bridge."

    "Approaching Veridian," Aranchez announced. "Moving to impulse power."
    "Have you been able to raise the salvage team on the platform?" Picard
    "No, sir," she said. "They do not answer our hail."
    Picard looked at the view screen display of the three-tiered platform
floating serenely above the planet.
    "There's nothing out of the ordinary going on here, sir," Aranchez
reported after a moment.  "The defensive shield is operating in random
modulation with the Enterprise shields and transporter signal.  Sensors
indicate salvage and recycle operations proceeding on schedule.  It all
looks like situation normal."
    "A communications blackout is not normal...sir," Lieutenant Commander
Worf asserted.
    "There's a robotic service unit on the communications array, Captain.
They may be temporarily shut down or they may be effecting repairs."
    "How are we going to get through to them?" Crusher asked.
    "The old fashioned way."  Picard rose tugging his tunic down sharply.
"Mr. Aranchez, put me in her windows and give me a single key X-on for the
running lights."  He turned to Crusher. "Data should still be on board,"
he said. "I hope his emotional program hasn't knocked out his files on

    Adjan stood in the clutter of the ruined bridge of the UFP Enterprise
and opened the panel under the tactical station displaying the slotted
isolinear optical chips that slid out in neatly compiled rows. "If you
would, Commander--?" the Romulan knelt Riker down on the floor in front of
the open matrix .
    "The Zakdorns have compressed their schedule, leaving us a very narrow
window to do this job, so you're going to have to work quickly and
accurately. We want the ILOC's for phaser operations, photon torpedo
targeting and the presequenced attack and evasive maneuvers.  You pull
them and Jarneth will scan them.  As long as they're the right ones,
former Ensign Malone won't have anything to do."
    Former Ensign Malone pulled Deanna to him, clenching her wrist hard
across her waist.  
    "Enough," Adjan pronounced as he handed Riker a decircuiter.  "I hope
you're a quick worker.  Any lagging is likely to be punished." He turned
to address the Romulan, Jarneth.  "Sub-commander Ankhet will have taken
Lieutenant Commander Kirov to the torpedo launcher by now,  to remove the
circuitry.  That may take slightly longer given the difficulty.  I will be
pulling the chips for the phaser emitter on deck six.  The bridge will be
the last area in the dematerialization sweep, so remember to use the
prescribed route to the meeting place.  We will beam up from Transporter
Room Three on Deck Six before the inspection crew beams down at precisely
eleven hundred hours planetary time."  He delivered his last remark to
Troi as he started back down the turbolift ladder. "Make sure the
Commander budgets his time."
    "So get started," Jarneth ordered as Adjan exited the bridge. 
    Riker looked at the rows of slotted ILOC's in the tactical panel. 
They seemed to shimmer and wave in his vision like a heat mirage, and he
had the sudden impression of the chips standing in their rows as miniature
gravestones on a commemorated battlefield of long ago.  But his
battlefield was within him.
    I'm not a raw cadet, I've lost people under me before.
    But this is Deanna.
    As much as I care about you, my first duty is to the ship. 
    But  to sacrifice Deanna  is--unthinkable.  
    You have to think of the unthinkable because sometimes that's the only
    I can't betray my oath, but--
     Malone shifted behind him.  He could hear Malone's hands move across
the fabric of her clothes, and slowly, Riker's hand, as if it had volition
of its own,  reached into the cabinet, clipped the decircuiter to the base
of chip B74V-9 and pulled it out.
    He stared at the ILOC in his hand.  He had to concentrate to feel it
in his fingers.  He had lost all sensation. He was completely numb, as
though his flesh had been turned to stone -- sight and hearing and touch
completely blocked. 
      The Romulan scowled.  "Put it up here."
    Riker continued to stare hypnotically at the chip.  He was holding in
his hand his ship, his duty, his honor.  Reflected in the flat glassy
surface, the leering Malone held in his hands Riker's heart and soul. 
    The disruptor prodded his shoulder. The rim of the tray chattered as
the hilt of the gun accidentally bumped it and momentarily distracted
Riker.  His eyes came up right into the muzzle of the disruptor and then
he saw it--the unthinkable--but the only way.  He reached up and set the
chip in the tray on the tactical console between him and the Romulan.
    "It's Captain Picard!" Data exclaimed.  The Zakdorn Operations Chief
as well as the communications specialist were staring with him at the
blinking lights on the ship that followed them in their slow orbit over
    "What's going on? What's he doing here?" the OC wanted to know.
    "He wishes us to cease operations and to allow him to beam onto the
    "What?!  This is a secured facility. We are not dropping our shields
for anyone without a clearance code. Has he got a clearance code?"
    Data was concentrating on the flickering lights.   "He says that we
may have Romulans aboard the Enterprise."
    "Romulans?! Of all the ridiculous--! This site is locked down! Tell
him he can't issue orders to us! It's a conflict of interest for him to be
here in the first place!  Are you telling him that?"
    "You do not understand," Data protested, "We must allow Captain Picard
at least to come aboard the platform."
    The Zakdorn crossed his arms stubbornly as if in debate. "Why?"
    "Why?"  Data was astonished.  "He is a Starfleet captain commanding a
mission!  He has authority to do this!"
    "Admiral Christopher has authority for Starfleet in this sector," the
Zakdorn corrected.  "He's the one who gives clearance.  What does he say?"
    "Admiral Christopher can not be contacted with our communications
    The Zakdorn Chief looked deeply suspicious.  
    The data clerk shrugged.  "Well, even if he could, we are legally an
independent project with our own authority issued from Starfleet Command
under their supervision.  We could appeal an intrusion like this all the
way to Command Headquarters on Earth."
    "Then why did you even suggest--"  Data reined in and tried a new
tack.  "Chief, you must allow Captain Picard at least to board the
platform to explain his  request. "
    "Request!?  The way you put it was a demand," the OC waved a hand at
the furiously blinking lights of the Stark, "and I don't care for his tone
    "But he must have a reason for--"
    "That is just it!"  the Zakdorn pounced.  "What are his reasons?  We
don't know.  HE could be a saboteur.  We don't even know if this IS
Captain Picard!" 
    Data felt a surge inside him like an energy overload.  Heat flowed
along his neural net, coursing throughout his body.  He stood up with his
fists clenched in frustration.
    The Zakdorn looked at him coldly.  "Violence will get you nowhere," he
    Appalled by the images that ran through his mind, Data sat back down,
shaking.  He had actually considered hitting the man!  In truth, he wasn't
considering it, he was about to do it without thinking about it at all!  
    "I would not attempt to circumvent our decision, Lt. Commander Data. 
There's a possible emergency at Anaxagorus. You will find that we have
invoked security codes.  We must maintain the safety of this installation
and the Enterprise.  We are in the strong position here on the platform. 
We cannot be assailed.   Our best strategy is to restore communications,
and until then, we must simply wait and see what develops." 

news.Token.Net!imci5!!!news!!!!!not-for-mail Tue May  7 19:38:49 1996
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW Ch 12 Part 3
Date: 1 May 1996 23:07:11 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 209
Message-ID: <4m98sv$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995
Chapter 12 "The Jigsaw" Part 3 

    Malone sat Deanna down on the floor, her back against the bulkhead
beside the turbolift doors.  He stood in front of her holding his weapon
casually at his hip, pointed in her general direction.  He fiddled with
his Jigsaw badge.  "So," he asked the Romulan, "when we transported from
the yacht we got all spread out with this thing and kinda soaked through
the shield?"
    "You might say that," Jarneth replied.
    "So how did we get back together again?"
    "The assembler program.  That's why we needed to come in through the
Enterprise transporter."
    And we have to go back out that way?"
    "No, the yacht transporter will rematerialize us."
    "So how come we have to go to the transporter room?"
    "Look," Jarneth said tiredly, "It doesn't matter. It's just a place to
meet.  What's important is that the badge passes you through the field and
there's a transporter up there to catch and hold us. The program in the
badge will see that we get  reassembled just fine." 
    "But what if--"
    "Just watch the woman."  
    Malone shrugged.  "Hey, not hardx.  So, sweetheart," he said to Troi,
"did you know about the other one, the blonde?"
    Deanna didn't answer but she stared at Riker's back as if she would
drill a hole in it.
    Riker was focusing hard, rehearsing each movement. Removing the chips
took little attention.  He knew where each one was in the matrix and
Jarneth checked off the designations as each one was added to the tray. 
The decircuiter seemed to be operating ever more slowly.  Perhaps it was
just his imagination that decircuiting the base took longer and longer. 
The intensity of concentration, the separation of his mind to the
different tasks, seemed to induce in him another state of consciousness.
Rocking the chip out was rote, repetitious, like the sequence Riker was
practicing in his mind, a pattern of the necessary acts repeated over and
over like a mantra, like an echo that wouldn't leave his head. . . but it
began to have words . . . words that weren't his  . . . 


    Riker straightened suddenly--and then shifted again as though his
muscles were tired and needed stretching.  He had felt Deanna pushing at
the corners of his consciousness, and he'd tried to keep her away till he
was ready.  But he realized now that she'd been trying through her own
fear and pain to tell him something vital.  He wanted to give her a
reassuring look, but instead he relaxed a little, hoping she could read
his acknowledgement.  He changed his plan.  She'd given him a way that was
 safer.  He stretched again, making a show of it, slowing down to let the
power transfer do its work.  He looked again into the mouth of Jarneth's
weapon.  If the power transfer to the shield drew on all energy sources
within the shielded area, it was pulling the power out of their
    "What's the problem?"  Komal asked his mission officer who was
grimacing into his monitor.
    We're having trouble keeping in touch with our surface team.  At our
last communication Sub-commander Adjan reported them working at all three
sites on the Enterprise, but I can't seem to raise him anymore."
    "What about sensor readings through that program of Kirov's?"  
    "I'm getting a lot of fade-out, but I read all seven exactly where
they're supposed to be."
    "What are the details of the fallback again?"
    "We beam them up from the original coordinates in Enterprise
Transporter Room 3 at eleven hundred hours planetary time."
    "Very well.  Keep trying to reestablish at least voice
communications."  Komal squelched the disquiet in him, telling himself
that  there was no need to assume that anything was wrong.   The constant
dematerialization was probably just producing some interference, which
they had not anticipated.  You had to expect that in a mission--something
always came up that was not anticipated.
     The Renaissance class vessel that had shown up was anticipated.  It
was only natural that the Federati would send a ship here given the
explosion at Anaxagorus.  Pretty soon though, they would get the
communique from the "Romulan Patriotic Alliance" claiming responsibility
for Anaxagorus and everyone would assume that the Outpost had been their
target from the beginning. 

    "Last one," Jarneth said.  The Romulan looked over at Malone and
jerked his head toward the door.
    "There's a few more," Riker replied as he came up with chip V83X-2 and
shifted position again. The decircuiter still had a charge, how
substantial, he wasn't sure.
    Jarneth glanced at his padd.  He frowned.  "My list says that's it."
    "All right," Riker said agreeably.
    Malone was grabbing for Troi's arm, intending to hoist her off the
floor. "Let's go, baby. Party's over."
    "Wait a minute. What did you mean about a few more?" Jarneth said to
Riker, who watched as Malone pawed at Deanna.
    Riker hesitated, playing his bluff well, continuing to watch Malone
with feigned apprehension.  "All right.  All right. Just leave her alone,
OK?  There are a few more ILOC's--some experimental prototypes." A few
more minutes, a little more time for the power to seep away out of the
    Jarneth checked the chronometer.  "OK. There's time. Pull them."
    Deanna, still on the floor, pushed Malone away defiantly. "I can walk
by myself. Keep your hands off me."
    "Get up then."  Malone smirked and with a quick motion of his hand, he
removed the Jigsaw badge from Deanna's shirt and tossed it carelessly onto
the floor.
    "What are you doing?" Riker said.  The apprehension was real now.     

    "We won't be needing her here," Jarneth replied too matter-of-factly. 
"He'll take her to the transporter room."
    "Without a badge?  How are we getting back?" Riker asked.
    Jarneth scowled at Malone, who shrugged and reached a hand out toward
Deanna again.
    "Wait a minute," Riker protested. "Adjan said that if we cooperated,
he would--"
    "Adjan answers to Commander Komal.  So do I and so do you.  Just do
what you're told."
    "Even I can read Komal better than that half-Betazoid bastard," Malone
    "Shut up," Jarneth snapped, "And take her out of here."
    "With pleasure."  He leered at  her.
    Was the power gone yet? Riker asked himself desperately. The
decircuiter still glowed.  How much more time?
    "Think about yourself, human." Jarneth prodded Riker with the end of
the disruptor. "Komal has a reason to keep you around only as long as you
cooperate, so let's just pull the rest of those chips."
     Malone leaned over Deanna.  "Let me give you a hand, honey.  Or how
'bout you give me a hand?"  He moved his grip suggestively down the long
muzzle of the disruptor rifle.  Then, taking his finger off the trigger
and holding the gun with both hands, he extended the barrel, pinning her
to the floor with it.
    Somehow Riker held himself still and in that stillness he felt her
calm.  She had mastered the anger and indignity and held the fear away
from her.  She pushed the gun aside and blotted her attacker and his
weapon out of her mind as  completely as if they never existed.    
    She began to rise from the floor.  She knew what Malone was going to
do.  She was ready to walk out, knowing she'd be taking one opponent away
from Riker, knowing that she was never intended to make the return trip.
     "Come and get it, darling." The former ensign ran the muzzle of the
gun over her, toppling her back to the floor again onto the sloping
portside ramp. 
     "Get her out of here!" the Romulan said curtly.  "And you," he 
growled at Riker, "Get busy!"
    Will bowed his head to the cabinet in seeming helplessness and shame,
no longer watching but concentrating, focusing.  
    Deanna, he thought at her, even though he didn't know if she could
hear him.
    Deanna!  He could hear her heartbeat.  He felt her presence within
him.    Deanna, he thought at her, get ready!
    Malone turned back to Jarneth, still holding the disruptor casually. 
He winked at the Romulan, who, though he was becoming impatient with the
Terran's behavior, was not distracted from guarding Riker.
    Meanwhile, Deanna rose again, slow but alert.  
    Riker pushed aside her questions.  
    Deanna, please, don't think, just do it.  Don't think, and don't look
back.  Please, just run.  Run when I say run. 
    "Which ones?"  The disruptor grazed Riker's back again.
     He crouched down at the base of the tactical station with the Romulan
standing behind him, leveling the grey muzzle of the disruptor at his
    "I think we should save her for later, Sarge," Malone said.
    There would be no later once they left the bridge.
    Ready?  Ready?  Don't think.  Get ready.
    He crouched before the opened panel.  Balanced on the balls of his
feet, breathing in deeply, muscles in the legs tensing, his whole being
concentrated, ready to spring.
    Not enough time, but not enough time.
    "This one." ILOC K65L-1 came out in his hand. 
    Deanna on all fours and now pulling a knee up to set a foot on the
floor. Pointed at the ready room door.
    He twisted around, reaching upward toward the tray with the chip in
    Malone turned, the disruptor gripped pornographically below his waist.
"Here, baby, you want it, you know you do," he sniggered.
    Jarneth shifted impatiently. "Get going, Malone!" 
    Riker's hand, moving away from the tray, knocked the chips onto the
    Run!  his mind screamed at her.
    She vaulted from her runner's stance.
    His outstretched hand grabbed Jarneth's weapon, and he yanked the
barrel downward. The sudden jerk pulled the trigger just as disruptor
struck on the deck. It sputtered once and discharged into the pile of
scattered chips, just as he had rehearsed.
    Dashing for the ready room door, Deanna jostled Malone who had no free
hand to catch her.  He recovered, but startled, not knowing which way to
turn, he fumbled his weapon.  
    Springing upward, Riker knocked Jarneth backward into the aft science
station, the Romulan pulling again and again on the trigger of the
disruptor which refused to fire a second time.  Still gripping the
disruptor, Riker swung the Romulan into Malone's line of fire, but the
former ensign was still choosing which way to look.  Jarneth hit the
bulkhead a second time and rebounded, stunned.  He let go of the
disruptor.  The momentum of the sudden release spun Riker around and away
from the Romulan, and he found himself facing Malone, who had still not
fired, but now stood fully pivoted away from the ready room door with his
weapon leveled.  In the split second that Malone took to target him with
the  disruptor, Will saw the last glimmer of her hair as she turned behind
the bulkhead, just before the flash leaped out for him.
    The hot, brilliant bolt flared on contact, penetrating his chest,
searing his flesh, pounding him over the balustrade, tumbling him onto and
out of the captain's chair and crumpling him at its foot.  And then the
yellow-white light dulled to crimson and slowly seeped out of his body
till everything was black.

From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW ch 13 part 1
Date: 4 May 1996 21:29:09 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 339
Message-ID: <4mh095$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)
Status: N

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 13: "In Pieces" part 1  

     Ever since she'd emerged from the Rift, the Danube class Delaware had
been sending its message to all vessels and installations:  Anaxagorus
Station destroyed by Romulan Condor, complement unknown, now bound for
Veridian system, possibly carrying captured Starfleet officers.
     "Strictly speaking, Commander," McNeil pointed out, "the part about
the Condor blowing up Anaxagorus is a lie."  
     Azedine glared at him disdainfully from the helm.  "If you wished to
depend upon the Romulans, they would have done the job more thoroughly."
     "I think we did it more thoroughly," LaForge sheepishly disagreed. 
The shields had held just long enough to evacuate everyone into the
Delaware and the Zakdorns' shuttlecraft while LaForge, with McNeil's help,
set up the explosion on the most precise timing he'd had to pull off since
he had engineered the disappearance of the Hathaway.  The Romulans would
have been satisfied with a depressurization breach.  LaForge knew he had
to generate the kind of energy that would blind the Condor long enough to
get the Delaware and the shuttle into the Rift's Kolari effect,  where
they had hidden until (they hoped)  the Condor had flown.  They'd rigged
the reactor overload just as they'd brainstormed it at the poker game.
Geordi paused a moment to send a prayer to the Patron Saint of Engineers,
whoever he or she was,  for another timely miracle. 
     Azedine had been deep enough in Kirov's mission to guess the real
nature of Adjan's visit.  But even if Morojon hadn't gone down to Kirov's
quarters and seen the decoded intelligence, LaForge could have taken a
bearing on the Condor's course from their wake through the debris of the
Anaxagorus Outpost.   
     In case the Condor was monitoring subspace transmissions,  the
Delaware's  message purposely left out the part about the evacuees in the
Zakdorns' shuttlecraft: Fleischer and the other ensigns who were on their
way to the Starbase. The Delaware had received responses from the Starbase
and from the Grissom, the ship closest to their position, but the
construction platform at Veridian had not acknowledged.   
     "The Starbase is diverting ships to Veridian, but it looks like we'll
be only the second on the scene."
     "Who's first?"  LaForge asked.
     "The Stark  with Captain Picard. . .   How'd he know?"
     LaForge smiled knowingly.  "He's the Old Man.  But I wish we knew
exactly what the situation is.  Neither the Stark nor the platform is
answering our broadcast?"
     Azedine shook his head.  "Jamming communication frequencies is a
typical Romulan ploy."
     "That means they can't hear us either," McNeil said.
     "Just keep sending, Mac," La Forge told him. "You can tell the
shuttlecraft that they're far enough away to start their own calls now."  
     LaForge turned back to the OPS monitor murmuring to himself,  "Still,
I'm not looking forward to explaining the mass destruction of Federation
property to Admiral Christopher."
        "Entering the Veridian system, outer orbit of planet seven,"
McNeil called. 
     LaForge craned his neck to see how Morojon was doing in the back. He
nodded.  The polarizer was ready.  

     Aboard the Orcheris , the Romulans, too, had picked up the second
small craft.  Not that it really bothered them any more than the
appearance of the Renaissance class Stark which had come out to check the
platform.  If the Federati had suspected anything, they would surely have
sent something more powerful than a light exploration vessel and a
runabout. The Romulans looked on, cautious but secure in the knowledge
that they were invisible and that the work that proceeded below them was
guarded by the Federati themselves. 
     The only oddity was that the little ship was approaching from the
direction of Anaxagorus, which was strange since they should have seen it
in the vicinity of the outpost.  It did not appear to be part of the
flotilla that was nearing the Rift to begin the investigation of the
annihilation of the station. 
     Not much bigger than the stolen Federation yacht,  this vessel was
too small to have any weaponry that could challenge a Condor.  But it was
bearing down upon the general coordinates of the platform firing a tiny
laser-like beam in a broadcast, scattershot pattern.
     The Romulans watched their screens in bewilderment as the little
rock-slinger hurtled toward  the hidden goliath of the Condor.  As it
neared, the beam sprinkled the cloak like raindrops. The Danube class
overflew them, still furiously spewing its droplets of energy,  so close
that they could read her name: Delaware.
     "What is that beam?" Komal demanded.
     "I don't know --I've never seen this energy signature before,"  the
operations officer reported.   "It looks like they're seeding some sort of
particle radiation -- unless they're experiencing a leak of some kind." 
     The little craft had turned and was reapproaching from a new
perpendicular line.  It passed within a hundred meters of their bow,
obviously blind to their presence. 
     "She's having a leak?" Komal's first officer caught the eye of the
communications officer, who was also having a hard time keeping a straight
face. "Good thing we've got the cloak up."
     They all laughed as the vessel quartered again.
     "Vector?" Komal called to his helmsman.
      "Bearing 275 mark 171.  She'll pass underneath us this time."
     "Good." Komal said sustaining the merriment.  "I wouldn't want her to
drizzle on us."
     There were grins all around as the Delaware sped under them and took
up a position directly under the Stark.  
     "I would guess that the Terrans are looking for a field effect to
account for their communications breakdown," the first officer suggested.
"I've seen them do this before."
      The runabout hovering beneath the Stark sprouted a thin stream of
light, a pin point laser beam that stabbed at the Orcheris. The cloak bent
it neatly and harmlessly over them without the least perception of a
     "What are they doing now?" Komal wondered aloud.     
     "They'll sweep the  beam around and check the reflection for
anomalies," the first officer responded.
     For a long moment the Condor's bridge crew waited for the beam to
sweep.  It didn't.
     "Commander!" the tactical officer snapped. "The Federation vessel has
just locked phasers on our position!  They can see us!"  

     "This is Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the Federation Starship Stark
hailing unknown Romulan vessel: Uncloak and identify yourselves and your
mission.  Our weaponry is trained on you.  We demand an immediate
     It was a complete hoax, a absolute flier, but he had to say it in
case they could actually hear him. Picard put his most assured voice into
the challenge as he stood there addressing the same empty viewscreen he
had before.  The only change was the laser beam pointer emitted by the
Delaware poised underneath them.  They hadn't even been able to talk to
the Delaware, but Picard bet that he was reading their message correctly. 
     "Subspace displacement at two nine zero mark ten!" Worf called out.
     The stars on their port lateral blurred like a heat mirage as the
Romulan Condor uncloaked.
     "Shields coming up, Captain!  Disruptors on line!"
     "Full thrusters, dead spiral hard to starboard!" Picard barked just
as the first blast arrowed toward them.
     The Stark wheeled tightly, and the disruptors hit them a glancing
blow off the top shields.
     "Return fire!" Picard ordered. The phaser blast pounded the Romulan
without inflicting damage as the Stark ducked under the platform, putting
its super heavy shields between itself and the Condor, which now lumbered
toward them angling for a clear shot.  
     "What the hell is that thing?" Aranchez exclaimed.
     "A Condor," Worf informed them. "A carrier vessel." Picard shot him a
worried look, and Worf's mouth curled in battle pleasure.  "Insufficient
mass to be carrying fighters.  I took a reading before her shields came up
     "Come around, Mr. Aranchez," Picard ordered.  "We'll try a Hylan
maneuver on them."  The Stark continued under the platform and rose on the
other side curling to port this time and firing again, hitting again, but
with little apparent impact.
     "What other information?"  Picard asked Worf.
     "Well shielded, but not powerfully armed for her size.  However, she
can eventually wear down even the defense field on the platform.  Poor
design with vulnerable undercarriage. But unless their shields give out,
our weaponry is insufficient to damage them.  We can only dodge them."
     "While they do what below?"  Picard muttered.
     "Below?"  Aranchez asked. "How do we know the Romulans are on
     "The Condor knows we are too quick for them," Worf said.  "They
should retreat before the fleet arrives, but they are waiting for
     "Message incoming," Crusher reported. "Standard Federation
encryption.  Looks like they've had to give up the jamming."
     "Captain?"  It was Geordi, unmistakably, on the com system."Hang on,
sir.  The fleet's on its way."
     "Geordi, is that you?"  For a moment the evident joy made Data's
voice from the platform nearly unrecognizable.
     "Mr. LaForge!" Picard began.  "Take your runabout to the surface.
We'll cover you." 
      "This is a restricted area!  You can't do that!" a Zakdorn shrilled
in the background.
     "There is Romulan vessel out there! Whose side are you on?"  Data
shouted back.
     "Request permission to help out up here, sir," LaForge replied.
     The Stark bucked as the Condor's disruptor blast hit the aft shields.
 A second flash lunged out and nearly caught the runabout.
     Aranchez turned around and spoke urgently to Picard. "Sir, if we let
down the shields on the Enterprise to get a team in, we let the Romulans
in, too."
     "I'm reading a com signal from the Condor down to the surface,"
Crusher reported.
     "Captain?" LaForge's voice again.  "They have a way to squeeze
through our shields.  They're probably down there already, maybe with
Commanders Riker and Kirov."     
     "How can you penetrate shields?" Worf asked.
     "You heard them!  Let me drop the shields, so we can put a team in
the ship!" Data was pleading with someone. 
     "This is Professor Azedine!  Keep those shields in place or they'll
get away and blow up your landing party to boot!" another Zakdorn voice
     "Captain Picard," Aranchez said, "In view of a possible security
breach, I recommend you order the platform to destroy the Enterprise."
     "No!" Crusher cried grasping Picard's arm. "We don't know who's down
     "Enough! Everyone!"  Picard took Beverly's hand and gently removed
it,  "If the Romulans have gotten into the Enterprise, we can't destroy it
or allow it to be destroyed before we know what has happened there.  We
have to get rid of the Condor before we can go in, or make her stay until
help arrives.  Even if we have to give them targets.  Now!  Evasive
     There was quiet as everyone concentrated on the task before them. 
But for a little moment more, Jean-Luc did not let go of Beverly's hand.
      The Jeffries tube was a narrow shaft about four meters deep leading
to the next level. Then, if it were like the others, there would be a
small horizontal passageway with a number of intersections and then
another vertical.  The going was torturous and claustrophobic.  The
horizontal stretches were a little more than a meter high in their tallest
sections and floored with a hard rubber grip surface.  You had to crouch
or crawl along until the floor opened on a shaft that was again only a
meter or so in diameter.  But Deanna climbed steadily downward and aft.
That was the first thing she needed to do to throw them off.   They'd
expect her to move forward.  The foredecks had the exits to the surface. 
The foredecks had already been visited by the dematerialization beam. 
Forward was where you'd go if you were terrified, running for your life.  
     Not that she hadn't been afraid.  She was now, in fact.  But she was
also thinking.   
     She had known from the moment he placed the first chip in the tray
that he had calculated some way to keep them from taking the tactical
programming. She had watched him eye the disruptor and had felt the cold
determination mount in him and she, too, had seen the unthinkable only
way:  sacrifice personnel to save the ship. First officers were the first
     She had tried to tell him to wait, that the shield would work on his
side, and in the end, she had tried to tell him she was willing to be
sacrificed, too.  But it was not a choice he'd been willing to make.
     Perhaps Will had meant her just to escape, to hide until they were
gone, but that was not what she meant to do now, not when there was
another hostage on the ship, someone who had cared more about Will than
her duty to Starfleet, someone she must help.
     She had no idea what might be happening there now, but Deanna knew
that the dematerialization was spiraling upward relentlessly toward the
bridge and that somewhere a little bit further below her, a Commander
Kirov, "Lara," was removing the torpedo launch controller under the guard
of another Romulan officer.
     She'd seen Lara before they had beamed down.  With the Romulan guard
Jarneth, Deanna waited unseen outside the small transporter area while
Jarneth talked to Komal.  She'd seen them transport Will.  She'd heard
Lara reassure him.  If Commander Deanna Troi could get to her, perhaps the
two of them could get back to the bridge.        
     She made the next level and listened for the sound of pursuit,
stepping carefully around some rubble that had fallen in the passageway. 
She thought she could hear voices.  Sound echoed from everywhere in the
enclosed arteries of the Jeffries tubes.  She listened intently. The
voices were directly below her, no further than the next vertical.
     Yes, she could make out the gist of the conversation even with the
static of their com system.  Something about bringing Lara to the
transporter room.  How would the Romulan do that?  The prisoner would go
first, naturally, with him keeping a weapon and probably some kind of
leash on her.  
     She saw how she could do it.  It would be easy--sort of.  Not a high
tech solution, but, she smiled grimly, she was not the most
technologically adept person on the ship.  She considered the necessary
movements, like a piece of a ballet-- Klingon ballet.
     Troi moved back and looked through the rubble selecting a likely
piece, a duranium dowel with a nice heft to it.  She peered into the
shaft.  Shadows moved across the opening at the lower end.  She edged her
way over to the side opposite the ladder.  She waited.
     The first footsteps on the ladder.
     "No funny stuff, Kirov, or this rifle is likely to go off."
     Probably not any more, Troi thought, but they don't know that.
     The scraping of boots on rungs.
     A blonde head at the top of the shaft.  Then the body climbing out on
hands and knees, turning over to sit down. 
     "Huh!"  The wide eyes, the sudden intaken breath, Troi's finger on
her lips.
     "What's the matter?" from below.
     Staring at Troi all the while, Kirov tugged at the line of optical
cable knotted around her waist and wrists. "You're pulling me in!" she
called down the shaft.
     "I'll give you some slack.  Back away from the shaft."
     Kirov slid backwards and began furiously to struggle with the knots
in the cable.
     Deanna tensed, breathing through her mouth.  Not too soon or he'd
drop down and pull the woman in. 
     Suddenly he emerged from the tube, one hand on the disruptor, one on
the ladder.  He swung a leg up into the passageway, turned slightly, and
he saw her out of the corner of his eye.
      Too late!  She bludgeoned him from behind, the momentum of the blow
propelling him forward.  The torpedo relay rolled from his hand and became
another piece of rubble at the edge of the pile where Kirov still
struggled with the intricate knot.
     Deanna backed up, repulsed by the sight and the sound and the feel of
what she had done.
     "Help me!" Kirov yelled at her, and Deanna, much as she would have
liked to sit down and hug her knees, crossed the opening and began to pull
at the loops around Kirov's wrists. 
     "You're the woman they brought from the Condor," Kirov said.  The
unknown Betazoid had been dragged to the transport site just as they were
about to go down.
     "Commander Deanna Troi from the Enterprise," she said through gritted
     "Kirov, Intelligence.  You hurt?"
     Deanna shook her head.  She loosened the wrap enough for Kirov to
shed her bonds. Lara immediately collected the disruptor. 
     "That won't work," Deanna said, glancing past the heap of the
Romulan.  "The power transfer has a damping effect-- "  
     Kirov was already checking it. "Damn!  All right. Without a weapon,
then."  She turned to Deanna.  "Listen Troi, we have to get down to the
transporter room, to Adjan.  We can't let him get away."
     She stood slouched over in the passageway and began to step over the
     "Wait!" Deanna clutched at her.  "What about Will?"
     She glanced back over her shoulder.  "Forget it.  He's dead." 
     Troi felt her knees going under her.  "Dead?"
     Dead?  The word made no sense.  She understood it, but it wasn't
possible.  It was unthinkable.
     Kirov wheeled impatiently.  "They shot him.  While you got away. 
He's dead.  That's what they were saying to that goon, Ankhet." 
     Dead? But she would have felt it, wouldn't she? Their psychic
communication was gone, but she had always thought she would know if --  
     "But--he can't be dead-- you have to understand--"  
     Kirov closed in.  "Commander, I know how you feel, but YOU  have to
understand: they have the tactical chips.  We have a duty here.  We can't
let them get away."
     Deanna looked at her strangely, aware of the mission protocols she'd
studied, aware of Kirov's objective in reminding her of the chips, aware
of the strange emotional vibrations she was getting from the woman.   
     "But--but the ILOC's are gone, and Will might be--"
     Kirov grabbed Deanna by the shoulders and shook her.   "Listen to me!
 He's dead!  And his murderers are upstairs!  Do you think he'd thank you
for sitting here, letting them get away with everything?  Come on now!"   
     "But they're gone," she repeated.  
     Kirov went white.  "Adjan's gone?  He's gone back to the Condor
     "No.  The ILOC's.  Will fired the disruptor into them."
     "Damn the ILOC's!  What about Adjan?"
     Outrage.  Agony.  Loss.  
     "Don't you understand, Troi?  He's dead!"
     Pain.  Fury.      
     "He's dead," she cried, "It was Adjan who killed him, and now I'm
going to make him die for it."
     Unbearable grief.
      Deanna stared at her in horrified wonder.
     "Who are you talking about?"
     Kirov stared back. "To hell with you, then!  I don't need you!"  She
disappeared down the passageway.
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW ch 13 part 2
Date: 4 May 1996 21:29:10 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 270
Message-ID: <4mh096$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)
Status: N

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995
Chapter 13: "In Pieces" part 2 

     Komal sat in the captain's chair on the bridge of the Orcheris.
Accustomed to the swift maneuvers of the Warbirds, the Romulan Commander
gnashed his teeth in frustration at the ponderous, awkward attack of the
     "Flies! Insects! " he shouted as the Condor missed its mark again. 
"Smash them!" 
     The Condor's bridge team cringed inwardly at their commander's
display of temper. With effort Komal reined in his anger.  Emotion clouded
thought and he needed now to think.  His first reaction had been to
correct the mistake at Anaxagorus--to wipe out the evidence of their real
purpose.  It had been a foolish emotional outburst.       
     The Stark scored another ineffectual hit.  The Federati could not
inflict a serious injury on them.  They had lost their chance when they
had not fired on the unshielded cloaked vessel.  But Komal did not want to
remain any longer than he had to.  Not with additional forces coming.  
     So where was Adjan with his prize?
     The mission officer cast him a glance.  "I've lost two life forms,"
he reported.  
     Good, Komal thought. That meant they were nearly done. 
     He had himself under control now.  His face grew crafty. 
     "Very well," he said.  "A change of strategy.  Secrecy is gone, so
let us use our presence to advantage."  He turned to his first officer. 
"Prepare the Federation yacht to fly," he said, "as soon as we have our
mission team back on board." 
     Apparently the panels that usually covered the Jeffries tube
entryways were all low density material.  They had all vanished in the
first round of the recycle.  Lara sat in the cramped tube that ran
alongside the transporter room and listened to Jarneth and Adjan. 
     "Malone's located Troi." He shut down his communicator.  "At least
that's what it sounded like."
     "I still can't raise Ankhet," Jarneth said.  "All I get now is
     "The disruptors don't work, so I don't see why the communicators
should." Adjan was disgustedly examining the remains of the half dozen
tactical ILOC's that hadn't been melted into the floor of the bridge. 
     Jarneth threw down his drained disruptor. "I'm going after them."
     Adjan put a restraining arm on him. "We're staying right here.  This
is the fallback. We're due to transport in another five minutes." 
     "Some fallback plan!  That stuff you're holding is nothing but
ha'kat. The emitter chips you collected don't make any sense without them.
Ankhet better get here with the relay or  all of this is for nothing!"
     Adjan strained for the inner calm of a Vulcan. It would only
infuriate Jarneth further to know that the dematerialization beam had just
visited the corridor where Ankhet and Kirov had been working.
     "Jarneth, you need to remember that in Intelligence it's not only
what you know, it's what they think you know.  When we get aboard again,
I'll tell Komal to reveal that we've been here."
     "I thought we were supposed to do this secretly."
     "Don't you understand? They'll know we've been here, but they won't
know what we've escaped with.  They'll have to change all their tactical
systems,  pull back all of the Galaxy class fleet for refit. They'll be
short-handed for months.  So, we get Troi because she may have seen what
happened on the bridge, but Kirov we let escape.  She thinks we have the
whole trick.  She's our witness."
     "She's not getting out of here alive.  I'm going to do it myself!"
     "Oh, be reasonable Jarneth!"  Adjan had lost patience.  "What do you
want to do?  Flog her to death like you did her brother?  You got carried
away by a personal reaction there, too.  And see where it got us?  No,
Jarneth.  Learn to be rational. Learn to separate."
     "Yeah sure, I'll learn to do that," Jarneth sneered.  "Then I can be
a damned Vulcan." 
     Adjan's reply was controlled.  "We'll be transporting out in five
minutes-- with or without the rest."
     The long utility ladder up the turbo lift shaft was the most direct
way back to the bridge but the most exposed.  He had seen her easily when
he stepped out onto the roof of the turbolift car four decks down. 
     "Here I come, sweetheart,"  Malone laughed and called to her and
started up the ladder.  
     Troi sprinted upward, and in her panic, her foot slipped off the
rung.  She dropped to the full extension of her arm.  Pain shot through
her shoulder as her grip was torn away.  She grappled the rung with her
other hand and found her feet.
     She looked down.  He was grinning. 
     She climbed frantically, forcing herself through the pain, knowing
that she would need every bit of the four decks between them.  The ache
stabbed her shoulder again and again.
     She could feel him below her. His mind state washed over her, making
her skin crawl.  She looked down.  He was closer.
     She knew she would have to open a hatch on the next deck and run for
it if she were going to lose him.  But then, he must know where she was
going, anyway. 
     "Hey, baby!  Wait up!"          
     He spurted after her, pulling himself up the rungs as much as
climbing, and then suddenly, she heard him swear.
     She looked down in time to see his transporter badge bounce on the
roof of the turbolift car.  One of the ladder rungs must have raked it
off.  He hesitated; he looked up at her and then down at the badge.  
     That was when she felt it.  Close by.   It was coming. 
     Suddenly the rapacity was gone.  He was unsure.  He was afraid.
     Then,  incredibly, he began to climb down.
     She clambered upward with every ounce of strength she had left.  She
could hear now the first glimmer of its sound, which had been rising
steadily through the decks of the ship.  The beam was coming.
     He seemed to sense it, too.  He jumped down the last few meters,
hitting the car roof hard, scuttling across the ridges of the rounded
surface, desperately lunging for the badge on the far side.  He didn't
make it.
     She saw the beam below her in the shaft. She saw his image freeze in
the blue light.  He glimmered for a second, like a shape underwater, and
then the light evaporated and he was gone, along with the lift car,
scattered atoms in the matter tank several thousand kilometers above her.
     She climbed. 

     The runabout skated right over the top of the Condor connecting with
a phaser bolt that did nothing more than illuminate a patch of the
forcefield that surrounded the vessel.  As the Delaware banked for her
turn, the Romulan returned a disruptor blast that glimmered a bare ten
meters off their port beam.
     "I wish you had studied how to put a phaser beam through a shield,"
Morojon growled at Azedine.
      "What I wouldn't give to know their shield frequency," LaForge
grumbled, thinking of the easy hits the Duras sisters had scored on the
     LaForge spun the Delaware sharply in the space between the platform
and the planet as the Stark came around from the opposite direction. 
Suddenly the Stark veered into their path and LaForge found himself coming
head-on at her.  "Hold on!" he yelled putting the Delaware into a dive
while McNeil and the Zakdorns clung to the consoles as the stabilizers
strained at capacity and failed to even out  the sudden shift.  The ships
narrowly avoided colliding and the runabout had to recover quickly to
avoid the Condor's last volley. 
     "I'm sorry, Mr. LaForge," Aranchez apologized breathlessly over the
com, "but we intercepted a transporter signal from the Enterprise.  It
deflected us off course."  She didn't bother to say what might have
happened to the matter being transported.
     LaForge was keyed into the Stark's tactical post as well, and he
heard Worf say under his breath, "MY recommendation is that you keep us
from bouncing off the beams."
     LaForge's breath caught in his throat.  "Data," he said.  "Is the
platform still transporting dematerialized substance from the Enterprise?"
     "Yes, Geordi."
     "How big an annular confinement beam can you give me?"
     "What do have in mind, Mr. LaForge?" Captain Picard asked.
     "Captain," Geordi asked, "Do you remember Tanuga?  They accused
Commander Riker of murdering a scientist? Do you remember how Dr. Apgar
really died?"
     Worf's eyes glowed. "Ricochet," he answered. "From his own phaser --
off the transporter beam."
     "That's the way!"  LaForge crowed.
     Kirov had only to turn the corner to come to Transporter Room Four,
which was the mirror image of Transporter Room Three.  They were paired
like that to share the same power circuitry. 
     She began to work at the console.  It was meticulous work, not the
sort of job Kirov relished, but one that she was well schooled to do. 
There was only five minutes.  On a chance she input an old backdoor code. 

     She smiled at the readout she got, indicating she was at the program
base.  It was only one simple change that she wanted.  
     She would get them.  Adjan and Jarneth.  She would finally pay it
back.  The betrayal, the beating, the death....

       (She could see him, the blonde head, the boyish face turned in
profile, despite the strap that fell across the bare beautiful skin of his
back, nonetheless swearing to their father that he alone had done it.)

     She was surprised to find that her face was wet.  A few tears had
fallen on her hands.  She sniffed and told herself to stop it.  But it was
useless to command because she couldn't obey. She went on with the codes.
     She'd been feeling strange since the transport down.  She was
overwrought.  Her skin seemed suddenly cold, and there was a ringing in
her ears. She stopped to listen. It was not in her head.
     She clasped her chest.  No badge!  She had no badge!  Hell and
damnation!  Why hadn't she taken her badge back from that damned Romulan? 
 She looked at the chronometer on the console: ten fifty in  Transporter
Room Four.  The next to last room to dematerialize. 
     There was still time to run.  But there would be no time to go back
over the sequence.  Either she finished now or she lost them.
     I can't lose them.
     Nicky, I won't lose them.  I won't  fail you.
     Her finger fell on the last key, and yet she lingered to make sure. 
She saw the targeting fix, she saw the dematerialization cycle begin--just
as the light came and devoured her.

     The turbo lift door was open onto the bridge and Deanna came down the
ramp almost as quickly as she had the last time.  
     He lay there, unmoving.  Crumpled up on the floor where the disruptor
had thrown him, one arm draped overhead, the hand resting on the captain's
     She gently turned him over.  The shirt front was scorched, stuck to
his chest, the Jigsaw badge blasted and charred.  A thin trickle of blood
traced away from one nostril.  His skin felt cold.  She couldn't tell if
he were breathing.  Her trembling hand felt for a pulse.  
     She probed, feeling for a even a small throb under her fingers.  She
concentrated her empathic sense for assurance of his being.   
     And then she heard it--a low whine, just on the edge of perception. 
     Her heart constricted.  She pulled her hand away.  Frantically, she
looked up.  There was a rush of sound then, the hollow ringing of the
transporter.  But the blue light appeared in the captain's ready room and
through the door to the observation lounge.  The beam was taking the
periphery.  The bridge would be last.  The bridge would be next.
     She grabbed him under the arms and cried out in pain.  His weight was
too much for her injured shoulder.  She lowered him to the floor.  She
could barely make her right arm move now.  She gripped his collar with her
one good hand and attempted to drag him the toward the ready room.  The
beam was already subsiding there, leaving behind only the bare structure. 
She pulled, but nothing happened.  She set her feet and tugged mightily. 
She had shifted his body perhaps a few centimeters.
     She stood there, refusing to let the tears fall, though they fogged
her eyes looking at the safety of the ready room only a few meters away. 
She had no proof he was still alive, but her heart believed it, and her
hand clenched until she felt her nails draw blood in her own palm.  She
could not let go and watch him vanish in the beam like Malone.

     Malone: How does it put you back together?
     Jarneth:  What's important is that there's a transporter up there to
catch you and hold you.  The program in the badge will reassemble you.

      A  way.  Unthinkable, but a way.
     The ringing began again.  Hollow and thin.  She had about fifteen
     She let go of him and dashed up the ramp scanning for the badge where
she had sat.  It had to be there on the carpet near the lift.  Please,
God, don't let it have fallen down the shaft! 
     She searched the floor.  It wasn't there.  
     The ringing was louder.
     Had they taken it?  Had they kicked it somewhere in the scuffle?
     She got down on the floor.  The hair rose on her arms like a small
cool breeze on her skin.
     Oh, God, where--?
     There! Against the tactical post!  She reached for it righthanded and
winced and snatched it lefthanded and took off again from low on the
floor, running, leaping over the seat where she used to sit beside Picard
so calmly advising with a sage nod of her head, with the blood in her palm
smearing on the badge and she hit the floor on one knee, stretching her
body out over his, her hand slapped against his wounded chest with the
tiny click of the Jigsaw just before the tremendous roar in her ears and
the blue light fell down all around them. 

     "Commander," the Romulan mission officer said stoically, "We've lost
all remaining life signs on the Enterprise.  We ran the transport program,
but there was nothing there to pick up."
     "What are you saying?"  Komal demanded.  "What happened?"
     "We don't know, sir.  We can only assume that they ran into the
dematerialization beam.  There's no one left alive on that ship."
     The bridge of the Condor Orcheris, full of people, bright with
lights, humming with the sounds of machines was suddenly as still and
removed as the bridge of the dead ship beneath her, the one whose name was
inscribed somewhere in eternity.
     "To hell with her then," Komal said quietly.  He turned to his first
officer.  "We'll save them the trouble.  To hell--that's where we'll send
the Enterprise.  Is the yacht ready?"
     "As you ordered, sir."
     "Send it home."

     "It all has to work exactly," Picard instructed.  "Mr.Worf, you can
simulate the plasma leak convincingly?"
     Worf nodded.
     "Mr. Aranchez, we have to appear to drift into a position in a plane
from the Condor's disruptors that intercepts the transporter beam at an
eighty seven degree angle."
     "I can do it, sir," Vera Aranchez vowed.
     "Data, are you ready with the beam?"
     "Yes, sir.  They just finished the last programmed transport from the
     "Mr. Forge," Picard said, "Lead on."
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW ch 13 Part 3
Date: 4 May 1996 21:30:11 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 225
Message-ID: <4mh0b3$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)
Status: N

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 13: "In Pieces" part 3  

     Komal's first officer stood at the bay doors and watched them launch
the yacht.  It was a good plan, he thought.  The yacht had no weapons on
board except one very potent one.  Its engines.  Send the vessel to the
construction platform begging for asylum, but rig the core to breach as
soon as they let her under their wing.  The platform goes, the shields go,
the Condor detonates the Enterprise, and for all anyone knows, the Romulan
mission was a success.  The Federation would spend the next few months
recalling their fleet for refit, leaving holes that could  be exploited. 
Maybe not as good as having their systems ILOC's, but better than nothing,
     The yacht was underway.  Komal had figured it from the point of view
of the Federation command officers.  They would hear the distress call,
they would think of their lost companions, they would welcome their own
doom.  The most potent weapon against the Federati was always themselves.
They had compassion.  Their great weakness.

     The Condor's shot grazed the Stark, but this time it appeared that
damage had been done.
     "We got her!  Their port nacelle is leaking plasma," the tactical
officer crowed.
     Komal's face set in fierce satisfaction.  Better than he thought.  It
would forgive much if he could tell Commander Sela that he had done away
with Captain Jean-Luc Picard. 
     "She's limping to the other side of the platform.  She still has some
shield left."
     "Move in direct line with her," Komal said. "We'll go for the kill."
     Data was getting ready to project the largest annular confinement
beam the platform could generate--a null transport--when he saw the ship
spin loose from the Condor's flight deck.  The UFP Sullivan staggered
toward the platform emitting an auto-regulated distress call.
     His hand rushed to the com channel.
     "Admiral Christopher?  Counselor?"
     They were about to down the Condor, and Data had felt the cold chill
of doubt:  what if they were on board?  Had Captain Picard considered that
possibility?  They might be with the Romulans.  One of them? All of them?
     "Commander Riker, please respond?  Commander Kirov?"
     The Sullivan was picking up speed, desperately trying to get away
from the hulking Romulan vessel, calling out its plaintive MayDay.

     "What is it?"  Picard asked.
     "The UFP Sullivan,"  Aranchez answered. "She's sending an automated
distress call."
     "It's a trick!" Worf declared.
     "You don't know that!" Crusher snapped. "What if it's Deanna?"
     Something drained Worf's face.
     "What's the condition of the Sullivan, Mr. Aranchez?" Picard
demanded. "Is anyone aboard?"
     "Can't read her.  There's a lot of radiation there."
     "Worf, do we have a clear shot? --Worf!"
     "Only by changing position.  We would lose our shot, sir." 
     They weren't answering, Data thought, but perhaps the Sullivan was
damaged.  Perhaps they were hurt.  Maybe they had barely managed to get
away.  Think of all the times they had escaped by the skin of their

     That's right, thought the Romulan first officer.  Hesitate just
another few seconds in the hope that it carries your friends.

     The Condor does not even see her, Data thought.  The Orcheris is too
busy lining up the Stark in its sights.  I could have her under the shield
in just a moment more.  

     Behind the VISOR some primordial instinct widened Geordi LaForge's
eyes.   "No, Data!  Shoot! Shoot her!"   He looked down to find his com
channel switched for the Stark.                        
     Picard's flat, dry command came over his shoulder to Worf, "Hold
position and--"

     "Make it look good," Komal said. "Fire a shot at the yacht -- as
though she were escaping."

     The Condor's shot went just wide of the Sullivan.

     A split second later, a reverse tractor beam from the platform hurled
the yacht backward at the Condor.

     But the Condor was  too busy zeroing in on the Stark to react.  
     "Fire!" Komal crowed. From the bow of the Orcheris burst a disruptor
blast aimed dead-on for the seemingly crippled vessel, just as Data
initiated the null transport.  The Condor's killer shot impacted on the
concentrated energy field of the annular confinement beam at a precise
eighty-seven degree angle--
     --which reflected it right back at the Orcheris's undercarriage.
     The blast passed  through the Condor's shield, since it was, after
all, the same frequency that had let it through to begin with.
     It scored a direct hit.

     The Condor's shields collapsed, and when the Sullivan exploded less
than one hundred meters away, it ripped the Orcheris into pieces,
tumbling, exploding, disintegrating,  into the black void.

     "It had to be a trick," Data said softly, watching the fireworks from
the platform. "They would never have missed from so close."

     The Delaware swung down toward the green surface of Veridian III
through the shower of  particles in which the Romulan Condor Orcheris had
     Worf met LaForge and Data and a slew of Zakdorn security and
supervisors on the Enterprise bridge--or what had been the bridge. It was
now simply a clear room.  There was a floor and a ceiling, although the
huge skylight above them, devoid of the transparent aluminum cover,
allowed a noonday sun to glare in on the emptiness.  The walls were a
honeycomb.  Only the structural braces in the bulkheads remained.  There
were no consoles, no chairs, no tactical post. There was no wreckage.  For
a moment, Worf simply stood on the raised aft deck, and then he ran the
tricorder over the entire area, but it seemed ridiculous to need the
technical confirmation that there was no life here anymore.
     "Transporter Room 3 is powered up," LaForge noted.
     "We will check it," Worf said, scowling at the Zakdorn supervisors.
     "I'd like to take Professor Azedine with me," Geordi said.
     "He, too, is Zakdorn," Worf informed the supervisors.
     Nothing was what the supervisors said.
     LaForge watched the unusual sequence of events transpire on the
monitor of Transporter Room 3 on the Enterprise and knew that he had seen
this before.
     "It's just like Commander Scott," he said.  "The program's caught in
a diagnostic loop." 
     "It's all right," Azedine said.  He leaned on LaForge with great
relief and expectant joy.  "I'll get them out of there.  It's going to be
all right." He took the controller's place at the console and began to
input the rematerialization procedures.  The transporter's chiming began. 
The phase transition coils began to ramp down with materialization
underway. And then, the whole sequence went into a ritard.
     "What's happening?" Azedine said frantically. "This isn't right!"
     "What's the matter?  Can I help?" LaForge asked.     
     "No! No!" Azedine cried. "No!  It's set for molecular resolution!"
     "What are you talking about?" LaForge said. "These are personnel
transporters."  But Azedine had begun to manipulate the lock on the
      "Someone changed it!"  he wailed. "It's wrong! You need quantum
resolution for a life form!"
     "Something is coming through the transporter," Data said quietly to
the rest of group who entered through the uproar.
     Indeed, the resolution coils were putting something down on the
     "Oh my God!" LaForge whispered.
     It materialized.
     Data uttered some strangled, helpless sound as LaForge took him by
the arm and turned him around.
     "Don't look, Data," he said.  "Don't look."
     It was the most hideous thing LaForge had ever seen.
     Like two wax soldiers melted together in the sun--one Romulan, one
Vulcan.  Both dead.
     The three of them stood on the hull roof where they had taken the
shuttles away from the Enterprise only three weeks ago.  Data looked paler
than usual.  Worf looked sterner.  LaForge looked tired down to his bones.
 Out of respect for their feelings, Azedine had already boarded the
Delaware and waited for them out of sight.  
     No one wanted to, so Worf did it.
     "Mr. Worf?"  Picard's voice on the com system gave no hint of either
hope or despair.
     "They are not here, sir.  We have found no one alive."
     There was a pause.
     "Please rejoin us on the Stark."
     They were about to climb into the runabout when Data's badge chirped
     "Mr. Data?" It was the tiny voice of the data clerk on the
construction platform.  "There's a little problem we have up here.  I
wonder if you could give us a hand?" 
     Data felt his jaw set.  Something dark and awful strained inside him,
but he fought it and controlled it. "Yes?"
     "You know the last transport batch we brought up from the Enterprise?
 Well, it seems to be stuck in the buffer."
     LaForge looked at Data and the two of them nearly trampled Worf
getting into the runabout.

     "Do it," Morojon told him.
     "You have no idea what it was like," Azedine said in a shaky voice.
"It had to have been Lara who did it. She switched the transporter down
there to molecular resolution and transported those men out of some
location on the ship.  It was --I can't describe it.  She did that.  She
did THAT with my work. What can I possibly say to her?  How can I even
look at her?"
      "We're ready, Professor," Geordi called.
     "Do it," Morojon said stiffly.
     Azedine began to assemble the last piece of Jigsaw, the instructions
for the transfer to the materialization site.  "I'll direct the matter to
the area right here," he said pointing.
     Morojon watched as the five officers of the UFP Enterprise (late)
waited, clustered together on the end of the huge expanse of the
platform's operations floor.  Against the backdrop of the open canopy of
space with its blossoming white stars, the chime began and air wrinkled
like windswept water and ghostly forms were called forth out of the light.
     The specters grew stronger and for a moment they hung suspended in
the air.  It was the ruined bridge of the Enterprise, surreal and
skeletal, and as the light died, the rubble collapsed and lay in heaps
around two human figures stretched out on the floor, clasped to one
     The first sense to return was the sense of touch.  Hands touching her
back.  They were powerful hands that yet lifted her gently, turning her
     Sight. It was Worf.  Beautiful, sincere, noble Worf.  Picking her up
and cradling her.
     She tasted blood back in her throat. Her skinned and painful hands
dragged across the body under her, and she reached out that other sense,
her unique sense, searching for the feel of him.  
     Will?  Imzadi?  
     The badge was stuck with blood to her hand.  His blood and hers. 
Like Klingons when they mated, she thought dizzily.
     Beverly was running a medical tricorder over her and nodding slowly
at each readout.  Deanna rested her head against Worf's chest and watched
as Beverly next ran the instrument over Will's closed eyes.
        Sound.  The tricorder delivered its message--a set of low fluted
tones, up and down and up.  Beverly's quick glance released Jean-Luc's
armored eyes, and Geordi's fist clenched as Data put an arm around his
shoulder and Deanna began to cry in Worf's enfolding arms-- tears of
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG novel JIGSAW ch 14 part 1
Date: 5 May 1996 15:25:32 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 296
Message-ID: <4mivbc$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)
Status: N

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995

Chapter 14 : "Interlock" Part 1


    Beverly Crusher stretched her legs surreptitiously under the
conference table.  It had been long, but the senior staff meeting was just
about over.  For most of the meeting, Captain Jean-Luc Picard had reviewed
the report of the court-martial investigating the crash of the Enterprise.
 It had come down pretty much as he had predicted: some quibbles about the
security protocol, some second guessing of certain decisions, but overall,
the three admiral judges had found no negligence or impropriety in the
actions of any of the crew, and indeed they commended the staff for their
quick and professional actions to evacuate the crew to the saucer and
perform an emergency  landing with so little loss of life. 
    (Unsaid in the report, but no doubt washing over all the findings, 
was a tidal wave of admiration for the exploits of the Enterprise crew who
had prevented the capture of her core systems  by the Romulans.)
    "So, the case of the wreck of the UFP Enterprise 1701-D is officially
closed.   Our last agenda item is the reassignment list," Picard said as
he handed each of the staff a padd.
    LaForge's face came up beaming. "Utopia Planetia!"  he announced. 
    "That is wonderful, Geordi!" Data congratulated him.
     "No doubt our Mr. LaForge will be fine tuning the new Nova class
engines,"  Picard smiled.
    "And rubbing shoulders with all the great names in theory and design,"
Deanna added. 
    I bet I know whose shoulders he's looking forward to rubbing, too,
Crusher thought.
    "Mr. Data," Picard continued, "will at last become a first officer.
Sadly, not mine--for a while." 
    "I am assigned to the Hood for a special liaison mission between Earth
and Betazed," Data told them.
    "The nature of the mission-- a research on educational practices will,
I hope, allow you the latitude to further your own education," Picard
continued. "I know Captain DeSoto will be as pleased to work with you as
I, Data."
    "Lt. Commander Worf and Commander Troi have been granted leaves of
absence as requested..."
    Deanna smiled shyly;  Worf just nodded.
    "... and Dr. Crusher..."      
    Crusher had already been told privately by a friend in the admiralty
that she was to be reassigned to Starfleet Medical, heading the research
division, so she had the leisure to watch the faces of her comrades as
they viewed their fates -- at least for the next six months.
    "You will all please notice, however" said Picard, "that these orders
have an unusual feature--"
    "But you have not told us about your assignment, Captain.  Where will
you be?"  Data asked.
    "I have been called back to Central Command to head a strategic
project concerned with the Borg. I will be at Starfleet Headquarters in
San Francisco for the interim.   As I was about to say, the orders are
unusual in that they carry a termination date.  You will perhaps recognize
that it is the projected date of the inauguration of the first of the Nova
class vessels."
    "Glennis was grumbling that the number's been changed on the first
one," Geordi grinned, "to 1701-E."
    Picard had trouble keeping his own smile contained.  "The
decommissioning ceremony has been set for the day after tomorrow, after
which transport will be arriving and reassignments will become effective. 
Anything further?  Then I expect to see you all in the very near
future--and thereafter.  Dismissed."    
    Dr. Crusher lingered after the staff meeting knowing that Captain
Picard would want to receive her report privately.  When the room had
cleared, she reseated herself by his desk.
    "They didn't send a reassignment for Will?" she asked.
    Picard looked pained.  "Whatever it was, it's been rescinded."
    "That's too bad.  I was hoping that getting his next posting would encouragement for him."
    "I'm sure it would have.  I can't imagine that it wasn't a promotion
and a command, but then, that's all the more reason for the admiralty to
wait until he's recovered."
    She appreciated the way he said "until he's recovered"-- no
hesitation, no equivocation, no hint of uncertainty.
    "Intelligence wants to interview Will briefly this morning.  Is he up
to it?" Picard asked.
    "Do they have to?  They've already got the report he dictated.  What's
going on?" 
    Picard leaned back in his chair.  "I imagine they have some questions
about Deanna's testimony."
    "Deanna? What questions?"
    "You have to understand the politics,"  Picard replied knowingly.  "In
the face of Adjan's treachery and the lingering scandal over Pressman,
Intelligence is anxious to pull a hero from their division out of this
whole mess."
    Picard nodded. " 'The Valiant Commander Kirov Pursues the Traitor
Adjan for the Galaxy Class Systems Chips,  Giving Her Life to Prevent Them
from Leaving the Enterprise'--or something of that ilk."     
    "Terrific headline. So what's that got to do with Deanna?"
    "Well, the question arises:  why wasn't Deanna with her?  However she
may have felt about leaving Will on the bridge, her duty was the same as
Kirov's--to prevent strategic information from being captured.  Deanna's
answer was that the chips had been destroyed and that she'd told Kirov
    "Well, weren't they? I thought the remains were flash melted together
in the debris that Professor Azedine rematerialized on the platform. And
even the chips that Adjan and the Romulan were carrying were disruptor
     "But then the question becomes: how could Deanna have known that the
chips were destroyed? She was fleeing from the bridge at the time."
    "What did she tell them?"
    Picard templed his fingers thoughtfully. "It's strange the things you
learn late.  Did you know that Deanna's relationship with Will has always
comprehended--how did she describe it--'an unrealized but strong
telepathic potential'."
    "You mean she and Will can read each other's thoughts?  She never told
me that!"
    "That's not exactly it.  She has always been able to thought-cast to
him, but she claims that they achieved some sort of psychic bond during
the crisis.  She told them that she was certain his last conscious thought
was that they had succeeded in destroying the systems chips." 
    Crusher thought a moment.  "I'm sure there was no time for her to
explain all this to Kirov.  Perhaps Deanna just couldn't convince her that
the ILOC's were no longer at issue." 
    "Or perhaps Kirov had other motives for going after Adjan. The thing
is, Deanna counterproposed that they go to the bridge together--which was
the correct thing to do.  If the ILOC's were gone, the security threat was
eliminated.  It was then the duty of the commanding officer to secure and
evacuate personnel."
    "And Kirov refused?"
    "She told Deanna that there was no point in going to the bridge, that 
the Romulans had reported Will dead."    
    "But he wasn't."
    "So who was mistaken--or  lying?" 
    Crusher sat rubbing her forehead.  "It's hard to know what was going
on without Kirov here to give her story."  
    "Perhaps harder if she were here," Picard replied shrewdly.  "In any
case, Intelligence wishes Deanna would say that they mutually decided to
cover both possibilities. They'll never prosecute Deanna. They know that
our defense of her would raise all these questions. They just want to be
sure that we'll be quiet while they deify Kirov."
    Crusher's face said it for him.
    "I have never had a very high opinion of the Intelligence division,
    There was quiet for a moment. Picard shifted.
    "So how is Will?"
    Beverly watched the stars in his window. "It's the same."
    " 'The same' meaning holding steady?"
    " 'The same' meaning a little worse again."  She got up suddenly. 
"Jean-Luc, I don't know what else to do. I don't know what's wrong.  And
nothing I do seems to help.   His condition deteriorates a little more
each day."
    At first, it had seemed miraculous.  She had resuscitated Riker aboard
the Stark.  He was conscious even before they reached the Starbase. But
every day thereafter he had retreated from that miracle.  Each morning
Crusher stopped at the lab and called up the microscopic screen to look at
the latest samples.  It was as though the very atoms of his  molecular
structure did not want to stay interlocked.  There was steadily increasing
cell damage, like radiation sickness, but it was unresponsive to any of
their drugs, including hyronalin.  The prognosis was... not good. 
    She suspected Kirov's transporter program, and she had gone back
through all the material she'd accrued after the Rutian affair, the
terrorists who had used interphasing as a transport method. This was so
like the disease she had seen among them, Flynn's people. She hoped it was
unlike their sickness in one respect--one of the hardest things she'd ever
had to do was to tell Flynn that theirs was incurable.  Maybe it was a
good thing that the transporter program had turned her down a blind alley.
    She tried with equally little success to find a possible cause in the
unmodulated energy burst from the Romulan  disruptor.  Nothing there
either.  And the chest wound was hardly healing at all due to the
progressive systemic degeneration.      
    "Maybe it's time Will had a new doctor," she said to Picard.
    "Which new doctor would you propose? It's not as though you haven't
consulted every doctor on the station and every expert back at Fleet
Medical.  Has Will asked for a change of physician?"  Picard knew the
answer to that.
    "Sometimes change is what's needed, even if it hasn't been asked for."
She turned reflectively toward the broad windows beyond the desk.  "I used
to think I could be a practitioner for the rest of my life.  I guess we've
all learned that nothing lasts forever."
    His voice from behind her took a softer, more thoughtful timbre.  "I
don't know that I've learned that.  Perhaps some things were meant to last
forever.  People pass away, stars are extinguished, even the universe
itself may contract one day to a pin point, but I think that there is a
better part of us beyond the physical world, a part that transcends this
    He was standing next to her, and she lost the despondent air for a
moment regarding him. "You're quite philosophical today, Captain."  
    His eyes turned to hers, penetrating, as though he would read her
empathically.  Then his gaze softened.  "Can you keep going, doctor? Can
you do your duty?"
    She gave him a short nod.
    "Why don't you speak to Deanna?"
    "I'll go down to see her now. There's something else I need to ask her
about."  She arched an eyebrow as she turned toward the door. "So that was
what she meant when she said she and Will had an 'understanding'."
    Picard huffed a little in exasperation.  "I wish I understood it."
    Beverly shook her head. "They certainly made a science of being 'just
    He regarded the vastness of space beyond his windows.  He ventured a
last comment.  "You know, Beverly, there are many stars, but only one we
call the sun.  In our hearts, if not our science, it's still the center of
the universe.  And Earth has but a single moon, which for centuries was
worshipped as a deity.  She was a beautiful and mysterious--and
    Her expression was blank. She didn't seem to comprehend him at all. 
    He shrugged. "Maybe I am just being philosophical."  

    Dr. Crusher found Counselor Troi in her quarters, packing.  "I'm sorry
to bother you," Beverly apologized, stepping over the shipping containers.
    "Come in.  Don't mind the mess," Deanna called.
    "I need to talk to you," Beverly took a deep breath, "about Will."
    She watched Deanna flinch and recover and put on a face to meet it.   
    "I'll be there to see him later, as usual," she said.  "How is he
    "I was hoping you could tell me. You'd know, if anyone, just how much
of it is bravado."
    Beverly Crusher knew well that a patient's mental state affected his
or her chances of recovery.  As much research as had been done in this
area, it was still a bit of a mystery how attitude promoted or retarded
healing, exactly what stimuli triggered the endorphins and how they
synthesized the proteins that combated illness.  All Beverly knew was the
way Will steeled himself each evening when Deanna kissed him goodnight and
how he averted his eyes if Worf came to pick her up, and what the monitors
said in the mornings when he heard her voice again. There were a hundred
ways his body gave him away.
    Deanna thought long about an answer. She finally said the obvious. "As
if being physically ill wasn't enough, he also has emotional wounds.  He's
depressed, hurt.  I expect that he's having a  hard time getting over it."
    "Don't you think he would take it hard?"
    "I suppose so."  She seemed irritated.  "But he has to deal with it. 
Forget and move on.  We all have to deal with our losses.  There's nothing
else to be done about it," she snapped.
    Beverly told herself that she agreed, but she was nonetheless shocked.
 She had never seen Deanna so vehement.  And Deanna seemed to realize it,
    "I'm sorry, Beverly.  I'm not handling this very well, I know.  It's
just that his--his mourning about it--it just--I just can't stand it!"
    How could she be so angry that Will should still be in love with her?
Beverly had always thought that underneath it all, Deanna was still in
love with him.  Even if he had had other affairs, even if she had fallen
for Worf, how could she be so cold?
    "So... that's it?  It's final?"
    "Final?"  Deanna was staring at Beverly as though the doctor were
working with about 100 less IQ points.  "I don't know how much more final
you can be.  She's dead!"
    Beverly's surprise compressed itself into a perplexed frown.   "Dead? 
Deanna, who are you talking about?"
    The Counselor stared back at her in equal confusion.

    By the time Beverly arrived back in sick-bay, the Intelligence
officers had come and gone. Riker lay quietly in the small ICU off the
central clinic area.  She went in to check on her patient. 
    His eyes were closed, but as minutely monitored as he was, it was
futile to pretend something physically recordable like sleep.
    She ran the medical tricorder over him.  "How're you doing?"
    "Okay," he said dispiritedly.
    Not even the pretense of fortitude today?  She wondered about his
conversation with the Intelligence officers.  As careful as his friends
had been in what they'd told Will about the end of the Enterprise affair,
she suspected that there were things that he, too, had withheld.
    She asked herself whether she should say anything about her
conversation with Deanna, but no, she couldn't interfere. What if she were
wrong? It was up to him and Deanna to straighten it out between them.  She
prayed they would. There might not be much time.      
    Crusher sat down at her computer and went through it all again. 
Transporter-induced illness, transporter accidents, unmodulated energy
discharges, disruptor wounds and side-effects.  She'd looked at every
possible answer she could think of.
    The words began to swim on her screen, and she stopped to rub her
eyes, and she swore softly and told herself it wasn't happening, but it
was.  Her eyes were tearing.  She looked around, blinking.  Damn!  Where
had she left it?  Where had it gone--her physician's detachment? 
    She had been missing it for weeks now.  Ever since the crash. Ever
since they'd found little Paolo Martinez. Her emergency team had uncovered
him in his crib, asleep forever with his teddy bear, smothered under the
debris of deck 16, too late for anything but tears.     
    She had conquered the shock and the grief by avoiding it. How
convenient that Christopher had wanted an administrator!  It couldn't have
been a more fortuitous coincidence.  She would go into research from here.
 Research was safe.  Research would put distance between her and the human
lives she served.  And now, how horribly had her words come back on her:
"Research underpins all practice."  
    There was nowhere to hide.  Her search had found no  answers;
therefore, she could not do the healing; therefore, she was helpless to
the emotion. 
    "Doctor... "  One of the Base nurses  was standing in her doorway.
"I'm sorry to bother you,  but there's a Lieutenant Barclay here."  
    She composed herself quickly. She turned around. The nurse was
figeting, apparently not because he noticed anything about her state, but 
because he was looking for the best way to say what he had to.  Beverly
recognized this as a common reaction to Lieutenant Barclay. 
    The nurse finally blurted it out. "He's got a case of hives, but he
seems to be convinced it's the first stage of Prosombian leprosy.  He
won't take my word for it. He wants to see you." 
    "I'll see him," Beverly replied.  Thank goodness for comic relief.
From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW ch 14 part 2
Date: 5 May 1996 15:28:48 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 295
Message-ID: <4mivhg$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)
Status: N

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 14 "Interlock" part 2

    The lights were dimming for the evening watch and Beverly sat with the
greenish glow of the terminal illuminating her face. She was still peering
into her computer, having forgotten to turn up the lights in her office. 
She couldn't remember if she'd stopped to eat lunch.  She couldn't
remember if she'd seen her crewmates making their usual visits.  She
couldn't remember how long she'd been sitting here.  Her head dropped. She
shook herself awake. She was tired, so tired, almost hypnotized by the
text on the screen.
    The answer, the answer, where was the answer?  What was the question? 
    Someone was in her doorway.  
    She turned around slowly because everything had gotten so heavy. 
    "Hi, Mom."
    He was standing in the shadows, backlit so she could barely make out
his face.
    He walked in.  He smiled at her.  He sat down beside her on the edge
of her desk.  She blinked hard.  The light seemed to outline him.   The
whole scene was surreal.  
    "Gosh, Mom, you look terrible.  I thought you said after the crash
that you were all right."
    "Oh, Wes," she sighed.  "It's been terrible. I've tried so hard to put
it all behind me and it keeps coming back. Everyone I ever lost, like
ghosts returning to claim one more and one more.   Jack and Tasha and
Flynn and Odan and now --"
    "I know," he said, "I know.  But why do you say they're lost?"
    She looked at him vaguely, "Well," she spread her arms gesturing at
her empty office. "Where are they?"
    He smiled.  "I'm sorry. I guess it's just because I've been Traveling.
 You get to understand some things differently....  You see Mom, they're
not gone.  They're just in the past.  They're back there--in the part of
your life you're not looking at."
    "That's no help," she wailed. "What help is that?  You can't get to
them. You can't touch them or be with them. They don't exist!"
    "No, no," he said.  "That's the future."
    "The future?  I don't know what you mean," she groaned.
    "I mean, you're looking at the past as something that's fixed and done
when the past is only slightly less mutable than the future. You say that
everything you've done and been is lost and gone, and I say it's all still
there.  It's inside you.  The trouble is, Mom, you need to change your
    "Wesley," she said, "you can't change the past. It's dangerous to
change the past.  It changes the future."
    "Exactly," he replied.
    She threw up her hands.  
    "What I mean to say," he explained, "is that we can't change the
facts, but sometimes we look back and we see things differently.  In
effect, we change what the past means to us and how we feel about it--and
that makes the future different.  How we feel about what happened--that's
what makes us decide what to do next."  
    "I've been trying to decide what I feel about what a lot of things
    He regarded her quizzically.  "Whatever." He bent down to meet her
eyes on level.   "What I want to tell you is:  don't try to discard the
past, Mom, just because some of it's hard to deal with.  It's who we are
and how we solve the future. We can go back and touch those past things
and let them help us.  Go back, Mom, but go back to the good stuff.  Some
things are worth repeating."
    He leaned over the desk and kissed her so gently she couldn't feel it.
And then he straightened up to go.
    "Oh, Wes, I'm so glad you came, even though I said you shouldn't."
    "You're allowed to change your mind.  That's what I've been saying,
Mom.  But really, I can't stay long."
    "I think you ought at least to say hello to everybody before we all
have to say goodbye again. They'll all be so happy to see you," she said.
She got up to hug him and her arms passed right through him.  She stepped
back startled.
    "Just tell Captain Picard he makes a very poor wizard,"  he said as he
passed through the bulkhead into space, "but a very good man."
    She sat down with a thump in front of the computer. She shook her head
vigorously.  She opened her eyes wide.  
    There was no one there.  How weird! What a strange waking dream!  She
definitely needed some sleep. Maybe it would be a good idea to retire now
to her quarters.  
    So she began to shut down the terminal.  She closed and filed her
documents one by one till the screen had flipped to the bottom of the
desktop to an article she wasn't aware she had accessed.  Then she
recognized it.  It was part of Lieutenant Barclay's medical file--a few
years old.  She remembered the article--it was about transporter
psychosis.  She smiled recalling the hypochondriacal lieutenant's
conviction that he'd gotten a disease that had been a very rare result of
the earliest transporters.  But she'd diligently researched it, though it
had been hard to find medical references.  Her notes were still
highlighted in the text--
    "...records were routinely sealed on the rare negative results like
transporter induced psychosis and Mocine Syndrome..."
    The words gleamed out at her as she read on, and then, then,  her
fingers leaped out for the keypad.

    It was 23:00 hours and Geordi LaForge was about to turn in when the
door chimed, and he opened to a vision of Dr. Crusher that he'd seldom
seen before.  The doctor's blue coat was rumpled, her red hair disarrayed
and there was fanatic light in her blue-green eyes.  
    "I want you to come with me," she said breathlessly as she grabbed his
sleeve and started pulling him out the door.
    LaForge figured that yes was probably the right answer.
    "Can I ask where we're going?" he said as she hustled him down the
    "I want to talk to your friend, Professor Azedine."
    "You already spoke to him.  Remember?  I introduced you."
    "I want to do it again.  Some things are worth repeating."

     The little Zakdorn scientist stared at her out of slitty eyes.     
"Mocine Syndrome," Beverly repeated. "You've heard of it, haven't you?"
    LaForge wasn't sure why he'd been brought to begin with, but looking
around the Zakdorns' Starbase apartment, LaForge felt it was a good thing
somebody had accompanied Dr. Crusher.  There was an odd ambience about
 quarters.  The place was a mess, and for Zakdorns, that was doubly so.  
Clothing draped the misarranged furniture, and dishes and data padds
commingled on every flat surface along with odd tools.  Most telling were
the numerous shot glasses that lined up on the table where Azedine sat,
their amber dregs filling the stuffy air with the scent of Scotch whiskey.
    LaForge stood off to the side while Crusher leaned across the littered
table.  "I know you know what I'm talking about."
    "I told you before," he said, drawing out the words slightly.  "I
worked with Kirov on the Jigsaw. Yes, it's a hazardous program, but the
hazard is that it delivers you or it doesn't.  It kills you if it doesn't
work. It doesn't make you sick."
    "All I have is a vague description of Mocine Syndrome.  The rest of
the information is classified.  Now, I don't have the time to cash in
favors and put in a request and explain why I need this information.  You
worked with Intelligence on a program that may have inflicted this illness
on my patient."
    "Intelligence?" he said. " You mean the Kirovs.  I never want to hear
about those bastards again."
    "Please, I need to know what you know about Mocine Syndrome."
    "They wanted a transport program that would get them through a
defensive shield.  They didn't care if it was risky.  They didn't care
what I or anybody thought.  They  just wanted it.  Nobody should blame me
that I gave them what they wanted."
    LaForge exchanged a look with Crusher who, despite the uncomfortable
interview, was determined to get an answer. She tried a different tack. 
     "Professor, perhaps your partner could help. Could we speak to --"
    LaForge was about to explain that Morojon's expertise was a different
one that would probably not be any help when Azedine suddenly stood up.
    "You can't speak to him."
    "What do you mean? Why not?"Crusher demanded.
    "Where is he anyway?" LaForge asked, realizing that he had been
meaning to ask all along.   It was odd that Morojon should still be out
and around the Starbase at this hour. 
    "Gone.  He left me.  Left me!" Azedine's anguished cry tore from his
throat in a half-strangled sob.  "I did it for him!  And he left me!  Told
me I'd sold my soul to those devils!  That I gave up my conscience!  I
only gave them what they wanted!  They were the ones who used it!  What
did I care about them?  Only him.  I did it for him!"
    Crusher looked desperately at LaForge, who took the Zakdorn by the
shoulders trying to calm and comfort him.
    Azedine pushed him away. "You know about us, yes. I know he told you
all about it, LaForge.  And you think everyone is so evolved.  Of course,
Zakdor is in the Federation," he sneered.  "On Federated planets, people
like us, we have our rights, you say, all our civil rights.  Still on
Zakdor, they look down on you. They ignore your work.  They hate you for
being different, and that is THEIR civil right!  So I bargained for work
in the Human part of the Federation.  For him!  So that we could work
together, BE  together. And now he tells me I am not the man he loved.  He
asks me, how can I be the man he loved if I have done such things?"    
    He became conscious of Crusher, who watched his suffering with pitying
eyes.  He sat down and gulped from the most recent glass while an uneasy
silence settled on them as he brought himself under control again.  
    Finally he set bleary eyes on the two of them and rasped, "It's not
Mocine. It can't be that. We eliminated the error that causes Mocine early
on in the development." 
    "But you revised the program many times, and the Kirovs probably
changed it, too," LaForge said.  "The error may have been reintroduced."
    The Zakdorn scowled down into his Scotch.  "You want to tell me that
I'm responsible for this horror, now.  You want to despise me for
betraying my  conscience, too."
    "I want whatever files you have on Mocine Syndrome," Crusher said.
"You can help save a life, Professor.  I don't know where your conscience
stands about what you did with the Kirovs, but I'm asking you to be
responsible now for helping to fix it."  She held her breath. If he felt
that they were accusing him, he might continue in denial.  "Please,
Professor Azedine, do you have files on Mocine Syndrome?"
    He didn't answer, but he got up and began to shuffle around the
apartment looking at various items in the rubble.  He snuffled over one or
two things and eventually worked his way to the desk.  He rummaged around
inside a drawer, all the while shaking his head sadly, as Crusher watched
with tightening impatience and silently pleading heart.
    Finally he turned with a padd in hand.
    "They classified all this years ago--out of embarrassment, I guess. 
Never bothered to release it.  Didn't have to.  Mocine doesn't happen
anymore.  This thing with Stryker--it's not Mocine, but here, take it if
you want it.  Prove it for yourself."
    Crusher took the files. "Thank you," she said.  "Thank you." They rose
to leave.
    "Wait!" He called to them.  He stood there looking helpless and lost. 
"You understand," he said plaintively.  "I did it for love."
    They stood in the hallway outside Azedine's door. The  padd was
shaking in Crusher's hand.
    "I didn't have any idea--I mean, I didn't know Morojon had left," 
LaForge said.
    "I guess Professor Morojon didn't think much of Jigsaw as an
expression of love."  Crusher grimaced. 
    LaForge shook his head sadly.  "Actually, I guess I understand
Morojon, too.  'I could not love thee, dear, so well--' " he quoted.
    " 'Lov'd I not honor more'," Crusher finished the line.   She began to
read the padd even as they walked toward the lift. "Geordi," she said
apologetically, "I think I'm going to need you to  help me sort this stuff
    Geordi took her arm a lot more gently than she had commandeered his 
before."Now, that's what I like to hear. I'm with you all the way."
    It was 05:00 and Picard was standing in his robe in his quarters
before the very wide-awake, very excited Dr. Crusher.
      "Mocine Syndrome?" he repeated. "I've never heard of it."
     "Almost no one has.  That's why I had such trouble diagnosing it. 
Just like transporter induced psychosis, Mocine is a rare illness that
developed with the first transporters and got swept under the rug as they
improved.   But it is curable, Jean-Luc--in about fifty percent of the
cases.  So I ran the tests, and, thank God, we're in the right fifty
percent.  We can help Will!  We can save him!"  She was flying, unable to
sit down, her lab coat like a pair of blue wings waving behind her. 
"First I thought the illness was from transporting in such weird way, but
when I couldn't find any modern parallels, I decided I was looking at the
results of his being hit by an unmodulated disruptor blast.  But the real
cause WAS Kirov's transporter program!  Azedine had files on it, because
they tried to eliminate it.  They thought they had, but they hadn't!"  
    "Wait now, Beverly.  If it was the transporter program, then what
about Deanna?"
    She leaned back against his desk, caught her breath, and began again
slower.  "I checked her chart again. She shows no signs of being affected.
 Some people are more resistant than others, though repeated exposure
eventually gets everyone. I think that Will's transporting with such
severe injuries accelerated the cellular break-down, as though he'd been
exposed several more times.    
    "So what do we do?"
    "Ship him out right away.  Geordi, Data, Jay Feld and I have managed
to rig a molecular cohesion augmenter to ease the symptoms, but he'll have
to go planetside for two months or so for the full course of therapy.  The
only centers with facilities to treat Mocine properly are at the major
university hospitals of the Federated planets.  For instance,"  she
chortled, "there's one at Starfleet Medical in SanFrancisco-- right near
home.  But the important thing is--Jean-Luc, he's going to be all right!"
    He had to look away, abashed.  It was so good to see her elation, the
return of her joy in her work and her self, that for an instant, the fact
that it was Will's life and health in the balance had been blotted out by
the radiance of the life within her.   
    "Beverly, it's wonderful news." 
    Suddenly he was being hugged --hard, clasped with all her strength,
and when she broke away, she stumbled and he caught her and pulled her up,
holding on to steady her. 
    "It's going to be all right," she said.  "I know it is."  
    He nodded and drew her closer and kept holding on, knowing she'd been
in the balance, too. 

     By that very evening Beverly Crusher's latest miracle was so
manifest, Deanna didn't feel guilty in leaving the clinic early so as to
meet Worf for a quiet dinner together in her quarters.  They talked long
and earnestly and afterward, the decisions made and the future plotted,
they strolled down to the auxiliary shuttle bay, as he wanted yet to check
out the shuttlecraft he had requested for the journey home once the
decommissioning ceremonies were concluded the next day.
    Geordi, who was preparing the shuttle, caught a bit of their
    "You've made it perfectly plain to your family," Deanna was asking the
noble, handsome, and sincere Klingon warrior,"that this trip is not to be
construed as a prenuptial visit?"
    "My brother understands.  It is the visit of a friend who wishes to
learn more about our culture."  Worf actually sounded like smiling.  "And
if the friend happens to be an attractive, eligible female, that is merely
a coincidence."
    "Well," he heard her reply, "I think that's fair to the 'attractive,
eligible female'." 
    They stepped apart as Geordi came out the back of the shuttle.
    "She's ready to go, Worf," he announced.
    Worf nodded.  "I will see you tomorrow," he intoned solemnly to
    It seemed an awkward moment and Geordi, assuming they could do without
his presence, found one last little thing to check inside the vessel.
    "I'd better get going." she said at last.  "I still have a bit of
packing left, and I want to look in  back at the clinic-- just to be sure
--" suddenly there were tears. "Oh, Worf, it's going to be a hard good-bye
for me to make!"
    "It will be...all right," he said with such surety she had to believe
    She stood on tip-toe to kiss him, reading into his simple response all
that he could not say.  "Thank you,"  she said, "for being so
    He couldn't answer that.  Klingons had nothing that would make a
satisfactory response.

From: (MizMAC)
Newsgroups: alt.startrek.creative
Subject: TNG Novel JIGSAW ch 14 part 3 (the end)
Date: 5 May 1996 15:28:54 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)
Lines: 271
Message-ID: <4mivhm$>
Reply-To: (MizMAC)
Status: N

Star Trek is a registered trademark of Paramount Pictures Corporation. 
The characters and various elements of the "Star Trek Universe," in which
this story takes place, are the property of Paramount Pictures.  No
infringement of their rights is intended.
The story itself is the original work of Mary Anne Ciancia, and is offered
solely for the shared amusement of fans.  Any commercial use of this work
is prohibited.

Jigsaw c  M. A. Ciancia 1995 
Chapter 14 "Interlock" part 3

    At about the same time, Dr. Crusher was in the number 3 holographic
simulation room with Data putting the finishing touches on his work. 
    "Should there be smoke?" Data asked.
    "No!  Well, perhaps just a hint.  Can you do something fragrant? 
    Data wrinkled his nose.  "I do not find pine fragrant when burned,
Doctor.  Also, they do not have pine trees on Kes-Prytt.  I would suggest
the myrtha tree. It is native to that planet and its combustion produces a
pleasant aroma." 
    While Data fiddled with the panel on the arch, Beverly turned slowly
around inspecting the results.  It was just right.  She had made some
changes for their comfort, of course:  a simple dinner: bread, cheese, a
thermos of her grandmother's vegetable soup (of course), fruit and wine; a
collection of cushions and a soft quilt to sleep on.  Other than those,
the scene had the same rocks and trees, the same dry hilly landscape, the
same overlapping lavender moons in the deep violet sky.  It was exactly
like the campsite on Kes-Prytt when they'd been "attached" telepathically,
right down to the--
    "Firelight!"  Data announced as the flames danced into virtual
existence before them, lighting her face, revealing her heart.
    "I love firelight."
    There was something about her voice--like reciting a poem --that made
him look at her curiously.
    "Some things are worth repeating.  They come out differently the
second time."  She smiled self-consciously. "It's perfect, Data." And then
impulsively, she gave him a hug.  "Thank-you. I'm so delighted."  
    "You are happy in anticipation of seducing the captain?"
    She let go of him.  She backed up.  Her hands moved and her lips
parted, but for a good couple of seconds no words were forthcoming and
then, "Data, um...I, uh, wouldn't exactly... well... yes."  
    Despite her reaction, Data plunged right into the source of his
curiosity. "I understand how that would give rise to feelings of
excitement and delight, but what I do not understand is that I feel a kind
of anticipation and delight as well.  And as I am not attracted to the
captain, these feelings must come from you.  And yet I am not empathic
either.  I do not understand.  Can feelings be contagious?"
    The question seemed to cure her awkwardness.  She regarded her android
friend with earnest thoughtfulness.  "Data, in a manner of speaking, yes,
they are.  Especially joyful feelings.  You see someone who is excited and
glad, and you get in the spirit yourself."
    "Oh.  I had best be careful then," Data said, remembering how wet Dr.
Crusher had gotten the last time he'd been encouraged to "get into the
    Apparently she remembered too, but she wasn't the least bit cross
about it,  because she chuckled at his delicacy now.  She put an arm
around him. "This time, Data, it isn't so much your adopting a general
mood.  I think it's that you see that I'm happy, and that you're helping
me to feel that way and because we're friends, well, that makes you happy,
    He looked at her, startled. It was like a light coming on.  "Now I
see!  I am happy FOR you.  YOUR pleasure gives ME pleasure.  So that if I
am happy, my friends are glad for me and when I feel sad, others are sad
with me. That is how humans are bonded to one another through emotion!  I
do not feel just by myself, but WITH everyone!"
    She watched him sit down next to the fire, transfixed by the thought. 
It was such a basic idea that she would never have suspected he wouldn't
know this. She wasn't sure what to tell him, and so she just sat with him,
her fingers interwoven in his until the chirp of her communicator awoke
them again to their surroundings.
    "Crusher here," she said apprehensively.  Please let it not be an
emergency.   Not tonight.
    "Beverly?"  It was Guinan's voice with the background noise of the
Starbase lounge.  "I just dismissed the Captain.  He's on his way."
    Looking up together,Data and Beverly caught each other stifling a

    There was no dawn, but a new morning came anyway to Starbase 191, the
morning of Stardate 48694.    
    Will Riker remembered the events of the past two days like a strange,
disconnected dream through which the blue glow of the pattern enhancement
stanchions around his bed tinted his hours.  But thanks to the molecular
cohesion field they had set up, he was, for the first time in days,
feeling less ill, more honestly hopeful.  Still, he was on the edge of
exhaustion.  He'd had little sleep, no rest from pain of one sort or the
              He'd spent what seemed like hours yesterday learning from
Beverly all about Mocine Syndrome, and now Deanna was explaining the
transport arrangements they had made for him.
    "The Magellan arrives tonight.  She's bound back through the center of
the Alpha quadrant and Fleet has given permission for them to exceed the
warp limit to get you home in ten days."     
     "Home,"  Riker smiled weakly. Deanna could sense even with the
overwhelming relief and gratitude, a twinge of irony.
    There was a flurry in the outer clinic area as Captain Picard
appeared, in dress uniform. He came into the intensive care unit with an
air of settled, deep satisfaction that, Deanna inwardly noted, she had
missed in him for a few weeks now.  
    "Well, Number One," the captain said, "yours is at least one bit of
good news on what would otherwise be a somber day."
    Ah, yes, it was decommissioning day. 
    "I wanted to thank-you, sir," Riker said, "for arranging for the
ceremonies to be a memorial for Lara, too."
    "Command would have it no other way," Picard replied solemnly.
    It was Deanna who broke the ensuing silence. "It's strange to think
that the Enterprise isn't still somewhere out there, just out of sight."  
    "But she IS out there--in our future.  In the prospect of the next
Enterprise,"  Picard declared. "So, my last command is that you all should
expect her....  Will, I've brought you something you'll need for your next
    Riker noticed that he had arrived carrying that odd ceramic from
Professor Galen.  But of course, that couldn't be what he meant. 
    Picard set down the ceramic and opened the top and Riker recalled what
the captain had said about the way each figure inside sat in a niche
produced by the contours of the other figures.  Interlocked, they made the
inside solid by the way they fit together... a ship--and her crew.
    Picard took a a small box from within the Kurlan Naiskos and placed it
in Riker's hand.
    His fingers didn't work very well yet.  He couldn't open it, so Deanna
did it for him. Pulling off the silver string and removing the lid, she
peered inside.  Her face glowed with emotion, and she offered the open box
to Riker.  
    Four brass pips.
    "A little ahead of the official papers, but when they do arrive, I
know you'll want to be prepared."
    Riker looked long at the constellation of the four round buttons,
shiny and sparkling in the box, and he seemed lost for words.
    "Thank you, sir."  His voice was low and scratchy.  "Brand new... " 
he commented.   "If you don't mind my saying so, sir, I kind of had my
mind set on antiques."
    For a second, Picard didn't seem to know what he meant.  It took
Deanna to translate with a hand gracefully drawn across her collar.  And
then the captain seemed lost for words as he acknowledged the homage paid.
He removed the four pips from his own collar and gave them to his Number
One, donning in exchange the new ones in the box.
    Beverly arrived, also dressed in formal Starfleet attire.  
    "Time to go," she announced.  Nonetheless, she picked up the medical
tricorder and did a quick scan over Riker.  "Actually a little
improvement,"  she announced.  "Commander, your case has inspired me.  I'm
thinking I'll do a study of susceptibility thresholds, while we're 'dry
docked'."  She looked at Picard. "I could do the clinical surveys
afterward--if I have your permission to recruit volunteers from the new
    Picard nodded.  "Who may include a few members of the old
crew--speaking of which, we have an appointment to keep." 
    Deanna noticed that Picard's hand slipped around the doctor's waist as
they left together, carefully separating to a professional distance as
they passed through the outer door. 
    "How are you doing?" Deanna asked when they had gone.
    He smiled.  "Want to go a round of Parisses Squares?"
    She ruffled his hair.  "You look done in already.  Do you want to rest
for a while? Take a nap?"
    Her lips brushed his cheek and the confusion of her own feelings
invaded her empathic sense as it so often did with Will, but she held it
down sternly.  She needed to know how he felt.  His eyes closed and his
head curled down against the pillow in an attitude of rest, but there was
no solace within.  He could not shield himself from her.  It was mourning
she felt.  But was it for Lara?  Lara, who had discarded him without a
second thought, left him to die, while she revenged the love that Adjan
had murdered?  Or could she believe what Beverly had insisted.  Could he
truly be grieving for something that had never really been lost at all?  
    "Imzadi?"  she said.
    The word hurt.  Like the impact of the disruptor blast he had taken to
protect her.  His eyes opened, but they did not rise to come to her.
Instead they sought some far distant point as though he would see back
through time. "Imzadi," he repeated "That was long ago..."  
    "Yes," she said, "but you remember what 'Imzadi' means, more than
'Beloved'? --'First.'  In Betazin, just as in Terran Standard, 'first' can
mean either in time or significance."            Now, she decided.  No
more thinking about it.  Now. 
    She made him look at her. "Tell me, Imzadi...were you in love with
her?" The same mixture of fear and hope that had sent her back to the
bridge to save him. 
    "In love?"  he sighed a long shaky breath.  "I thought I could make it
happen...something like it, anyway...between Lara and me.  I thought it
made sense in a way...that the feelings should be there, or that they
would get there.  I guess we both felt-- we both needed--" He shook his
head. He smiled ruefully.  "Pretty dumb, huh?--trying to think your way
into feeling something.  Dumb human thing to do."
    Her eyes glistened, too. "We're all struggling to know, Will.  We all
ask whether it's what I feel or what I think or what I do that is the true
expression of myself. And of course, it's all of them together. You can't
understand one without the rest." 
    And perhaps he sensed a little of what she felt, her certainty of mind
and heart, the caress of her understanding, the healing only she could do.
    Then, she squeezed his hand and put on a brighter mood.  "You know,
San Francisco is awfully cold and damp.  You might get a little stronger a
little sooner, if you had some real sunshine to recuperate in."
    "Think they could treat Mocine in the emergency clinic on Rysa?" The
joke was a little strained.
    She gave him a wry, sharp look. "Well, think about it.  Where would
you really like to be?   Of course, the advantage to San Francisco is that
Beverly and the Captain and just about everyone else will be nearby.  
I'll be going away for a little while, though . . . "
    Okay, he told himself, now comes the really hard part.  Do it, Riker. 
Find it inside you.  You love her?  Then make that love enough--enough to
see her happy with someone else.  First isn't forever.
    The fingers that didn't work so well nonetheless stroked, albeit
awkwardly, the back of her hand resting on the bed beside him. 
    "You. . . have a good time.  Just remember-- don't eat any dead gagh."
    She laughed, almost incredulous. "I doubt Mr. Homn can prepare it."  
    The smile he mustered up managed to hang on. "There's a brave girl
--taking Worf to see Lwaxana."  It was wicked, but the thought of Mrs.
Troi's reaction made the moment a little easier.
    "No, Will."  She seemed surprised and then, bemused.  "I thought you
knew.  Worf's going to the Klingon homeworld.  He's taking Alexander--and
his teacher, Ariel Vuork, for some real Klingon studies.  As for me,  I'm 
going home to Betazed, to study for the diplomatic corps."
    "Oh," he said, not quite sure what he was hearing.
    "You know," she considered aloud, "you should give a little thought to
someplace like Betazed.  Besides the political institute that I'll be
attending, the university has an excellent medical facility.  And the 
countryside is tropical, restful, a good place to . . . salvage things and
recycle yourself," she prompted.
    "Right," he nodded, still confused.          
    "Excuse me, sirs." A technician was standing in the doorway with a
holographic projector which he carried in and placed on the table before
    "Your captain is just about to begin the decommissioning ceremonies
for your old ship," he said.  "I thought the Commander would like to
    Riker looked up at Deanna.  "You better go then," he told her. 
"They'll be expecting you at the ceremony.   You have things to do, and
I'll be all right on my own."
    There was a long moment before she answered. "Yes," she sighed
finally, "that's the way it's always been between you and me."  She leaned
down and kissed him goodnight.
    And then because she was still communing empathically with him, she
sensed the sudden jolt of awareness--his realization.  And his heart
leaped as his hand struggled upward and clasped her arm.
    "No," he whispered.  "Please."  
    He drew her down close to him once again, and eyes as blue as Terran
summer skies gazed deep into eyes as dark as the sultry nights of Betazed.
    "Please, Imzadi, don't go-- ever."
    She cradled his head gently in her hands, closing his eyes with
kisses.  "It's all right," she said.  "I don't want to.  Ever."    
    In later years, whenever Admiral Riker related the story of the
decommissioning of the Enterprise-D,  he would smile slyly,  "confessing"
that Jean-Luc Picard's famous speech had put him right to sleep.  
Ambassador Troi indulged her husband's misdirection of the audience though
she, of course, knew the truth.  She'd sat on the bed with his head in her
lap, and folded in her caress, he'd fallen asleep as they listened to
their captain's eulogy...
    "...and so the Kurlan Naiskos is said to represent the stages of a
man's or a woman's life. The life of all sentient beings is portrayed
here, for we are not so different, any of us, in our hearts. 
    "But then, I was told recently--by someone who 'knows nothing about
art'--that this ancient work represented, to him, a ship.  A different
interpretation, I thought.  And yet as I thought longer, it seemed to me
that it was not so different after all.
    "For our ship was a being, and all of our selves fit within that
being, making up its substance, making something whole beyond its parts,
fulfilling our places in each others' lives.   We went out to explore
space together, but it was not space that connected us.  We filled the
void between us becoming one together.  Were we surprised to find at the
end of our mission that what we learned most about was ourselves?  
    "Space, so uniform and so identical, can never connect us.  We are
connected by time, whose each moment is unique, never to be crossed again,
and so to be treasured all the more.   That which we were is still in us,
something to hold onto and something from which to reinvent ourselves. The
living moment that is now carries forward like a precious artifact into
the future--going boldly into our tomorrows-- forever, a new